Senior Chief Chikowi of Zomba says early marriages remain one of the major barriers to education in the district and has urged girls torefrain from the practice to concentrate on education.
She said this at Mayaka Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Zomba on Tuesday during the launch of a K200 million project championed by Marist Brothers of the Schools with support from Mission Support from Ireland (Misean Cara).
The project is targeting 15 000 under-privileged students in Balaka, Zomba, Dedza, Salima and Lilongwe districts.
Said Chikowi: “I am appealing to you girls not to give in to pressure from your parents to be married off.
“If your parents are forcing you to get married, report them to authorities, including me.”
South East Education Division manager Macauden Msakatiza challenged beneficiaries to take advantage of the support to thrive in their education.
In his remarks, the project’s manager Patrick Siwinda said they will provide fees and study devices to day students.
The project will be implemented at Likuni Boys Secondary School in Lilongwe, Champhwanya CDSS and Marist Secondary School in Dedza, St. Charles Luwanga Secondary School in Balaka, Zomba Catholic Secondary School and Mayaka CDSS in Zomba as well as Msalura and Mafco CDSSs in Salima.
MayakaCDSS headteacher, Patrick Kaliwo welcomed the initiative, saying it will give under-privileged learners a lifetime opportunity to be educated.