When Dorothy* was 17, she dropped out of school and got married.  For many girls like Dorothy, this would be the end of their education, the end of their choices, and the beginning of another generation living in poverty.

We know this is a long way from the fullness of life God intends.

Thankfully for Dorothy, and thanks to the efforts of our Christian partner in Malawi, Church and Society Program (CSP), her story doesn’t end here. CSP has been at work in Dorothy’s community establishing and supporting groups that educate children and families about child rights – safeguarding and child protection.

‘When my mother learnt that I got married, she informed the child protection committee in our area who then came and taught us about dangers of child marriages and child rights before they withdrew me from the marriage,’ Dorothy said.

The committee pooled their own funds and helped bring Dorothy home – ending the marriage.

‘Since I came back from marriage, my life has changed for the better,’ she said. ‘The challenges I faced in my marriage taught me to focus on my education so that I can have a bright future and be able to support my family.’.

Dorothy is thankful for the chance to change the course of her future. She wants to work hard and become a teacher.

That’s not all: Dorothy is highly motivated to help other young girls in her community to stay on track with their schooling and pursue their dreams.

CSP have supported other groups in this community including a savings and loan association Dorothy’s mother is a part of.  Mother’s groups are also helping raise awareness about child protection as well developing awareness of the importance of education generally. This has led to families prioritising education for their children.

Dorothy’s mother says she is relieved and thankful for the help she and her daughter have received. ‘I am ready to support [Dorothy] with all basic needs so she can excel in her education and be a person of influence in future.’

CSP supports this community and other projects, including bee keeping; chicken raising; child clubs; and establishing tree seedling nurseries. After learning about the role trees play in reducing natural disasters from the staff at CSP, community groups have also been busy planting trees in disaster prone areas. CSP also supports the improvement of livelihoods so that families have a better source of income and are less likely to consider early marriage for their children.

International Programs Coordinator, Rebekah Cochrane said, ‘we’re thankful for the ongoing support for projects like these from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). In partnership with Australian Aid, our Christian partner is working alongside communities like Dorothy’s so they can create a better world for all.’

As our Christian partners support the most vulnerable, the impact of a gift to the Matching Grant Appeal BEFORE 30 June will have greater impact because it’s combined with Australian Government funds!

*Name changed due to privacy concerns.