British charity, Oxfam, and Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children have distributed bicycles and school uniforms to secondary and primary school learners in Phalombe District in an attempt to reduce cases of school drop-out.
Over 112 bicycles have been distributed to 30 students, 14 human rights defenders, 40 development committee members, 26 male champions, 10 mother and father groups under the project called Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (Isem) and Combating Gender Based Violence programmes.
At least 270 students also benefitted by getting school uniforms through the same project, which is being implemented in 16 primary schools and five secondary schools of traditional authorities (T/A) Jenala and Nazombe in the district.
Isem Projects Coordinator for Phalombe, Frejimina Chadzala, said the project also aims at combating cases of gender-based violence in primary and secondary schools in the two T/As.
“We realised that these students come from as far as eight to 10 kilometers to reach the nearest school, which is a demotivating factor. Again, some of these learners could not afford to buy school uniforms and could miss classes. We also appreciate the role community structures play and that’s why we thought it wise to render our support by giving them bicycles,” Chadzala said.
Chadzala also said, through the Oxfam- Cavwoc partnership, they are paying school fees for 270 needy students. The initiative started in 2017 and will be implemented up to 2019.
One of the beneficiaries, Form Two student at Khongoloni Community Day Secondary School Mercy Chikatha, said the bicycles are a timely gift.
“Before we received these bicycles, getting to school on time was not an easy thing. I am sure my performance will greatly change for the better,” she said.