The First Lady, Professor Gertrude Mutharika, who is also patron for Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust, Wednesday, opened a 160 capacity girls’ hostel at Chisenga Community Day Secondary (CDSS) in Chitipa, which has been constructed by the trust.
Speaking during the official opening of the hostel, the First Lady said it was worrisome to note that no girl child from Chisenga in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwenewenya in the district has ever been selected to a university due to long distances to and from school a situation which she said makes it hard for the girls to concentrate on their academic studies.
“It pained me when I visited Chisenga CDSS to learn that due to long distance, most of the girls were dropping out of school and others were getting married at a tender age, as a result, no girl child from the school was selected to a university, hence the construction of this hostel.
‘‘I am therefore satisfied today to hand over a hostel to the community in Chisenga, which I believe will help improve girls’ access to education,’’ said Mutharika.
She added that through BEAM it is her wish to see that girls from both rural and urban areas in the country are given equal opportunity of attaining tertiary education.
“I have received reports that some girls in the area were raped on their way to school including those who were putting up in rented houses on self-boarding basis.
“As such through BEAM, we thought it is our responsibility to support government by constructing girls’ hostels in CDSSs to address the situation,” said Mutharika.
She then made a donation of mattresses, blankets, water buckets and other materials to the school.
Earlier, chairperson of the Board of Trustees for BEAM, Dingiswayo Jere said BEAM has constructed a total of eight hostels across Malawi.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Bright Msaka Sc, announced that Chisenga CDSS would now be a conventional secondary school, meaning that it will be fully supported by government.
Msaka added that government through his ministry is planning to construct a science laboratory, library and a boys’ hostel at the school, which currently has an enrollment of 304 students.