As way of helping the Malawian girl realise her dreams, Standard Bank has set aside Wednesday October 11 as the Bring a Girl Child to Work day.
This initiative, according to the bank’s head of marketing and communications, Thokozani Unyolo is to inspire and give girls an opportunity to experience a day at a work place.
Through this experience, she says the girls can see what opportunities they have in life.
A number of forces come together to spell an early end to education for girls and chief among them is poverty.
When a poor family considers how much a girl can help in cleaning, cooking, collecting firewood, fetching water and looking after her siblings, she is usually withdrawn from school.
Among other things, Unyolo said the Bring a Girl Child to Work initiative intends to keep girls in school, urge them to aim higher and create awareness to their challenges.
“The girls will be paired with mentors for a tour of the bank’s branches to show them how we conduct business,” she said.
Six of the bank’s branches will participate in the project and they include Standard Bank Head Office, Capital City Branch, Mzuzu Branch, Blantyre Branch, Blantyre Operations Centre and Blantyre Regional Office.
Girls from Standard Six up to Form Four in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu are targeted for the special day which coincides with the International Day for the Girl.
Since 2012, October 11 has been marked the International Day of the Girl (IDG) to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting their empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.
Bring a Girl Child to Work comes a year after Standard Bank launched the girls mentorship programme in April last year in conjunction with United Nations Children Education Fund (Unicef).
The mentorship programme, according to Unyolo, was launched and implemented in Chimbiya, Dedza with three clusters involving 14 schools.
She said approximately 100 girls have participated in the sessions and have been exposed to role models from the bank through the programme.
Apart from that, she said absenteeism on the mentored girls has reduced and they are now working harder in school.
“Standard Bank is very passionate about girls. The idea is to mentor girls so that their horizon is opened up and they know they can be what they want in life.
“We believe in the girl child, we believe in the growth of Mother Malawi and we know our role is to inspire girls to be who they want to be and for them to know that anything is possible. It is our role to give them opportunities and options,” said Unyolo.
She also indicated that the mentorship programme would be extended to Salima and Mangochi, ensuring that the girls learn from women who have made it.
Unyolo encouraged other corporate entities to emulate the gesture.
Statistics indicate that 57 percent of Malawian girls enrolled at government primary schools are unable to complete their primary school education, leaving only 34 percent to transition to secondary schools.