It’s a sad truth that women are often disproportionately affected by poverty. The good news is that statistics show educating girls and women, and promoting equal rights, can lift entire countries out of poverty. Today we celebrate one school in Malawi which has been working wonders for girls from poor backgrounds for over 50 years – and, with help from supporters like you, is still going strong.
You may remember hearing the incredible singing from girls at Likuni High School in Malawi, when they sent us some Christmas Carols to enjoy. But the beautiful music and dancing is just the tip of the iceberg.
An impressive track record
This extraordinary school was founded by the White Fathers in 1963. It has around 600 students from across the country. The school also boasts an impressive list of alumni, including the First Lady of Malawi, Monica Chakwera, and Mary Shawa, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Women and Gender. Likuni Girls Alumni are very well known, running charitable projects, winning awards in education and more.
Reaching for the stars
It sounds like the credentials of any wealthy private school, but Likuni girls aren’t cut from that cloth. Coming from rural and impoverished backgrounds, many are helped and sponsored in part by Missio. Through passionate education, care and support, many girls are able to reach for the stars.
How you’re helping
Headmistress Sr Mary shares:
‘We get girls from all over the country, and our pass rate is 100%. Even now we get help from Missio, for instance, by paying for poor girls who cannot afford their fees. Our students come from very rural areas and it’s very difficult for them to pay their fees. The government pays only for the teachers. Board, food and wellbeing we have to pay for’.
Please help missionaries around the world reach more children in need by donating what you can here>>
Empowering women empowers a nation
Malawi’s poverty is still gendered, with female-led households statistically more likely to be the poorest and least represented. The UN Women agency says:
‘Female-headed households are more likely to be amongst the poorest and are disproportionately represented in the lowest quartile of income distribution. Women and the youth, including those with disabilities are particularly severely constrained by inequalities and discrimination, restraining them and their families from pulling themselves out of poverty and contributing to national development’.
But the country is making progress in protecting and enhancing the rights of women and girls. And Likuni High School is just one example of what education and empowerment can create.
Sr Mary’s pride in her students shines through as she speaks:
‘We’re developing the girls, but also the country as a whole, because if we send them back that means development will never come in Malawi,’ she says. ‘So thank you very much, Missio, for taking part in assisting the poor children. Nowadays we’re especially promoting the girl child. So, if you’re assisting the girl child… well, you know what they say, if you educate a girl, you educate a whole country!’
Thanks to you
Because of you, Missio can support projects in all of the 1,070 mission dioceses around the world – helping where the need is greatest today, and building a strong and vibrant Church for tomorrow. Thank you for supporting our work. Please continue to give what you can>>
In February Pope Francis asks us to pray for women who are victims of violence. Find the Pope’s Prayer Intention and our focus for February here>>