Gender Gender

Education changing world

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
WHEN Tetie’s parents suddenly died in a road traffic accident, she was left with the responsibility of taking care of her siblings; the youngest was only one year old.
Being the first-born in a family of four, at 17, Tetie was tempted to drop out of school in Grade 11 to find a job in order to take care of her family. However, her extended family stepped in to assist the orphaned children while encouraging Tetie to stay in school because her Grade 10 qualifications were not going to be of much help.
She took heed of the counsel of her family whose only interest was to see Tetie complete her tertiary education; an achievement which would empower her to take better care of her young sisters.
During the time Tetie was in university, life was extremely tough for her and her siblings but she persevered until she graduated. Immediately after that, a member of her extended family stepped in and before long she was employed in one of the private companies on the Copperbelt.
From the time she started working, Tetie has not looked back; and is very grateful for the family members who were there for her and her siblings. She believes that if her extended family had not advised her to continue with her education, she would probably have been married to whoever came along in order to have a home for her and her siblings.
Twenty-eight-year-old Tetie has advice for vulnerable children to always grab the opportunity to school with both hands even when times are difficult because the power of education can never be under-estimated.
She believes that if her parents were alive to see the responsible person she has become, they would have been very proud of her. Tetie has ensured that all her siblings have completed their education and are now independent; she does not have to worry about taking care of them.
In appreciation of her extended family, Tetie quoted former South African President Nelson Mandela, who believed that education is the most powerful weapon to change the world because it extends beyond the development of skills necessary for economic success and helps to break down the cycle of poverty.
Mr Mandela advocated for education as being the key to eliminating gender inequality, to reducing poverty, to creating a sustainable planet, to preventing needless deaths and illness, and to fostering peace. He believed that in a knowledge economy, education was the new currency for communities and nations to maintain economic competitiveness and global prosperity.
“Without the love and support of my extended family, who insisted that I continue with my education when the future looked so bleak after the passing of my parents, I would not have been the person I am today. At that time, I thought dropping out of school was the best option; but I was very wrong,” Tetie said.
Indeed, educating the girl-child has a multiplier effect. It is the most effective way to combat many of the challenges that hinder development and helps to improve the well-being of an entire community.
Remember, children are our future. Until next week, take care.
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