Most rural Malawian girls are caught in a spiral of poverty that takes them out of school and into early marriage. Many times a girl faces family pressure to leave school to help with the chores, such as collecting water and wood. Primary school is free, but there is a fee for attending secondary school, so many cannot afford the tuition.
When a girl reaches puberty, she often misses one week out of the month during her cycle because she doesn’t have basic feminine hygiene materials. So, rather than risk embarrassment she chooses to stay at home. A girl may be months or years behind boys her age in school. A boy is considered an asset to his family, and when he grows up and marries, his wife becomes a contributing asset of his family. A girl on the other hand is expected to marry and become a part of her husband’s family.
After she drops out of school she soon marries and begins bearing children, and the cycle repeats, holding the next generation in poverty. Our teams of trained women will present a Biblical view of each girl’s worth and instill in them hope for their future. They will teach the value of living a morally pure life in order to avoid HIV and AIDS and to insure a better future for themselves. They will teach the girls the importance of staying in school and getting an education. Each pubescent girl will be given a Dignity Kit which includes two pair of panties and two washable sanitary pads.
We are thankful to have teams of people in the US who are preparing these Dignity Kits for distribution in schools in Malawi. These kits take the stigma away from girls during their cycle, thus enabling them to stay in school. Positive relationships are made as our teams meet the needs of these young girls, thus enabling them to share with them the Good News of the Gospel.