Basayi’s story: the will and courage to forge a better future
The story of Bisayi is one of resilience and perseverance. Born in the Ntchisi District in Malawi, 17-year-old Bisayi dreamed of going to school since she was a little girl. However, reality was completely different, as she had to eventually drop out to work in the field and help her family make a living.
Bisayi then spent many years out of school, until an awareness-raising project on child labour came to her village, to help parents understand that education is paramount for children to thrive.
43% of children are involved in child labour in Malawi today, the vast majority of whom are working in agriculture. Children in rural families often work alongside their parents to contribute to their household incomes and meet basic needs, sometimes doing work which is both hard and hazardous at their age.
In the past 5 years, ECLT has supported over 27,500 children and 16,000 adults access schools, learn about child labour and safe agricultural practices, earn and save money, and improve nutrition in Malawi. Through its work with project partners such as CARE Malawi, MicroLoan Foundation, and Rays of Hope, ECLT’s programmes tackle the root causes of child labour to bring sustainable change to children and families in rural areas.
Once in school, Bisayi faced another challenge. She gave birth to a little girl, named Promise. She was determined to stay in school and asked her parents for financial support to afford childcare during the day. Her favourite classes are English, Social Studies, and Maths, and she would love to become a teacher.
Bisayi's story is an example of the complex asymmetry that throws thousands of children into child labour in Malawi and the world. Her reality is the dominant paradigm in many rural areas, one that is sometimes transformed by the will and courage of those who, like her, have the conviction to forge a better future.