In the outskirts of the city of Lilongwe, lie rural areas where families struggle to meet basic needs. This is where 2-year-old Gladys Manuel lives, in Chikuse village TA Malili. She is the second born in the family of two. Her mother, Rita Luwe (23 years old) got divorced when Gladys was only 9 months old. Life has not been easy for a young single mother to take care of the two children.
A good Samaritan in the name of a family friend one day showed up at Chikondi Phiri’s (not her real name) house. The man promised to look after Chikondi and cater for her school needs including tuition and other school necessities.
Early marriage is still a big problem in Malawi. An estimated 46 percent of girls in Malawi get married before they reach the age of 18 years and about nine percent get married before the age of 15.