Meet MAWA Girl, Chimwemwe
Chimwemwe* is a 17 year old student at Providence Secondary School in Mulanje. She is one of the first ‘Mawa Girls’, taking part in the programme designed to support young women like her through psychosocial support. When she and her friends were initially called to be informed about the programme, they were afraid they had broken the school rules. Much to their relief, and mild amusement, they were all very excited to hear what the programme entailed and how it can empower them as young women to overcome the challenges they face.
Despite being just 17, Chimwemwe has already overcome a huge amount at her young age. Just before she started secondary school, Chimwemwe was sexually harassed. While walking home from school, she was stopped by a man who was demanding sex, despite her multiple rebuffs. Chimwemwe shouted for help and thought of a way to get out of the situation. Her quick thinking worked and she was finally able to escape the scene. Chimwemwe arrived home and immediately narrated the whole ordeal to her father. Her father gave her support and even tried to confront the man she was harassed by, to no avail.
The clubs have given Chimwemwe a new, strong support network of both peers and mentors. Chimwemwe was particularly happy to hear that her Mawa Mentor is a former student of the school, someone who is immediately relatable to her and her peers. She says the lessons from the club are very constructive, and she better understands how to set goals in her life. Mawa Girls Clubs have developed Chimwemwe’s passion for education. She now plans to take the lessons learnt from the Mawa Girls monthly Club to influence her friends who attend other schools to set their own goals in life, love and school.
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*Chimwemwe is a pseudonym used in the interest of protecting the beneficiary’s identity
Mawa Girls, the word ‘mawa’ meaning ‘tomorrow’ in Chichewa, is a programme developed and implemented in partnership with GAIA. It builds upon GAIA’s existing secondary school bursary programme, by incorporating Sentebale’s model of psychosocial support through clubs and camps. Trained secondary school teachers from local communities called ‘Mawa Mentors’ will deliver the clubs and camps supporting 360 girls in this pilot year.