MamaYe Clubs ending early marriages in Rumphi

  •  Isabel Chirwa
Her ambition was to become a nurse/ midwife. She wanted to help pregnant mothers have safe delivery in health facilities especially in Rumphi her home district. Read the story of Isabel Chirwa.

She still had pains of losing her eldest sister because of the complications that were due to unsafe abortions. She did not want any pregnant mother die because of the complications of unsafe abortions.

Okay let me start from the beginning of this story.

In 2011, Isabel Chirwa got selected to Chikwawa Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Rumphi district. She was 11 years old. At school, Isabel worked very hard. She wanted to become a nurse/midwife and help pregnant mothers have a safe and happy delivery. She was a top of the class in 3 terms of the school calendar.

But I couldn’t proceed to form 2 the following year. My mother could not afford to pay me tuition fees. I had no school uniform. I had no school materials. I had no clothes. So at the end of the day I had no choice other than dropping out of the school.

While struggling to make ends meet, Isabel explained that she met Mr. Ntchindi Gondwe who promised to pay tuition fees and buy her school uniform. So, she fell in love with Mr. Gondwe with hope that he would be providing for her studies at Chikwawa CDSS. Mr. Gondwe was 31 years old at the time of meeting Isabel.

But he never lived up to his promises. Six months later, I was pregnant and my dreams of becoming a nurse were shuttered. And I married him since my mother couldn’t take good care of me.

Isabel told us her dreams of becoming a nurse/ midwife were revived when Chikwawa CDSS MamaYe school club visited her.The MamaYe club members, explained Isabel, told her the importance of continuing with education and dangers of giving birth at a tender age.

I got convinced with what my fellow students were telling me. After all they were my former classmates. I thought the best way was to go back to school. The club members lived up to their promise. They bought me uniform and helped me pay tuition fees. I ended my marriage and went back to my mother’s house. I am happy that I am now in school and that I will achieve my dreams”, said Isabel.

The Chikwawa CDSS MamaYe Club Patron Stanwell Mkandawire said he is happy that the club is helping bring the girls back in school thereby reducing maternal deaths are as a result of early marriages.“Our aim as a MamaYe club is to reach out to all girls that had dropped out of school because of either marriages or pregnancies. We want to bring these girls back in school”, he said.

Chikwawa CDSS head teacher who is also a Mathematics teacher for Isabel Mathias Chiumia said he is very optimistic Isabel will pass the Malawi School Leaving School Certificate Examinations (MSCE).“As his teacher, I can tell you that Isabel is going to pass MSCE. She had some problems when she was rejoining us because she had to think about a lot of things including her baby at home. But she has picked up so fast. I am confident she will make it”, explained.

Through MamaYe clubs, blood drives, c-MDSR activities and work on local district campaigns, MamaYe has generated a momentum behind saving the lives of mothers and babies lives which can be built upon.  This network of activists is informed and motivated, and is a vital resource for maternal and newborn health issues.

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