By Charles Kabena; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
As part of a child protection project facilitated by World Vision, primary school students have formed advocacy and support clubs. The goal? To address low enrollment in classes and low literacy in the community.
One school in particular is made up of 50 young boys and girls who want to make change happen.
The aim of the club is for youth to encourage each other to continue their education, despite hardships or social barriers they may face. Some of the common barriers in Mphompha include early marriage, long commutes to school, social expectations or teen pregnancy. The club provides peer support and encouragement, building solidarity for their futures.
“As a club, our role [is to] convince them that everything would be alright if they returned to school,” says Stella, who serves as a committee member among the mighty 50. “Once they accepted, our role was to talk to our classmates and tell them not to judge them but accommodate them and be as supportive as possible.”
Since their group was first formed, the kids have worked hand in hand with different local child protection structures to help their friends who have been victimized in different ways, providing ways to return to school. “Since our club was formed we have been [teaching] our friends to stay in school and work hard,” says 14-year-old Idah, who serves as deputy chairperson of the club.
Help a child realize their full potential. Give the gift of education.
As a united group of leaders, the students have not only been educating their peers, but have also gained the attention of adults of local authority, such as the district social welfare office and the police victim’s support unit. Through the club’s effort and dedication, assisted by the school authorities, there have been cases of several kids’ successful returns to school.
Staff at the school believe that this group has great potential to be self-sustaining and stand the test of time. The staff are advocates for the peer leadership, assuring the young learners that there will always be guidance direction from teachers.
As this club is run by kids, for kids - the goal is to replicate similar efforts in the other areas of the community.