Monday, March 23, 2009

A step towards a better future: The case of one orphan in Neno district

Agnes Mc Donald dropped out of school in standard 4 when she became orphaned and had no support to continue with her education. Her ambition was to become a medical doctor but her fate saw this dream slowly slip down the drain.

Born fifth in a family of six children in Joliji Village, T/A Chekucheku Neno, Agnes’s story is like just like may others’ in the district and the country at large. Some of Agnes’s older siblings have moved elsewhere to earn a living, leaving her with the responsibility to fend for food and other basic necessities. She is still holding on to her dream of getting educated and having a productive life although she does not have an immediate solution to her problem.
The ADRA IHFS project, with funding from Danida came in to assist young people like Agnes with their problem by training them in vocational skills so that they can have better means of generating income for their households and their education. A total of 65 child household heads and orphans have been trained for four months in skills like tinsmith, tailoring, carpentry and joinery and bricklaying in Mulanje and Neno districts. The beneficiaries also received training in entrepreneurship and small scale business management.

In order not to kill the dream that Agnes and many other children in her situation may have of becoming future leaders and professionals, the project established links with government department of youth as well as department of social welfare for these children to be supported and encouraged to go back to school. Today Agnes is a fully trained and certified tailor by the national certification body. She planned to back to school and make items to sell in her free time instead of spending all her time looking for piece work in people’s garden. It is the hope of ADRA Malawi that the skills imparted in these young boys and girls will sooner or later prove vital in their lives and that they will be able to develop their own lives as well as their communities.

Author: Thoko Mwapasa

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