Stories< Back to stories Share your story with us
Eliza, 14, is a pupil in a small village in northern Malawi who does not speak English, despite it being the official language. In many parts of the world the first victims of this exclusion are girls. According to UNESCO, 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 no longer attend school and 15 million girls of primary-school age will never enter a classroom. Half of them are from sub-Saharan Africa. This lack of access to education, especially amongst the poorest and amongst girls is also apparent in Malawi. Malawi is one of the most stable countries in Africa, but still one of the least developed in the world. A total of 85% of those living in poverty live in rural areas, and a higher percentage is women. As data from UNICEF shows, in Malawi over 10 percent of school-aged children do not attend primary school. Even though school fees, at least for primary school, were abolished in 1994, only 26 percent of children completed their entire primary school cycle. Of the children who do finish primary school, only 16% are girls.