Olive Gunyais is aged 15 and is from Malasa village in Nkhotakota District. She does not know her father. Her mother married another man and moved away from her children five years ago. Olive was raised in her grandparents’ home.
In 2013 Olive joined her mother and stepfather in Blantyre, where her step-brother was given preferential treatment. “My step brother is sent to a private school where school fees are K10,000 per term, while my sister and I go to a government school where there is no fee paid. My stepfather says that boys are more intelligent and can finish school but girls may get married and waste his money.” She adds: “My stepbrother does not do any house chores, he gets up in the morning, has a bath and eats breakfast and goes to school while us girls have to light fires, wash plates, fetch water from a public water tap and prepare breakfast for the family before going to school.”
Rejected and worried about her future, Olive returned to her grandmother’s home in Nkhotakota. There, her aunt introduced Olive to the Skillz Girl Initiative. The initiative uses fun interactive methods to provide life skills and gender education, through a partnership between Concern Worldwide and Grassroot Soccer. Olive attended a one-week camp where she learned about gender, sex, and HIV in a safe and welcoming environment.
“In a girls-only session I am able to freely discuss life issues unlike in school where girls were mixed with boys” Olive says.
- This case study was prepared as part of the Gallery Exhibition to commemorate the visit of the President of the Republic of Ireland, His Excellency Michael D Higgins to Malawi in November 2014, and later to coincide with the launch of the 16 Days of Activism against GBV on November the 25th, 2014.
- Pictures taken by : Chipiliro Khonje