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Malawi, Africa

Goat herder becomes best in class

The road that led to a better future

At age 11, Anthony Lungu was already working as a herd boy to support his family’s income. One day whilst escorting the goats alongside a road located opposite an educational center, a chance meeting with two friends and subsequent support from ARISE changed his life forever.

Anthony Lungu comes from Undi Village, Chimutu in Lilongwe, Malawi, and is the third born in a family of five children. His parents are peasant farmers but their production yield is insufficient to keep them out of poverty. In order to support the family with basic necessities, they also depend on piecework.

To help with the family income, Anthony was sent to a neighboring village to work as a herd boy when he was just 11-years old. His job was to look after 30 goats from three traditional enclosures for livestock, known locally as kraals. He worked every day, and rarely had time off. His workday began early in the morning and ended late in the evening, and consequently he never had the opportunity to attend school or church, nor to participate in other social activities. His meals were unhealthy and limited, and he lived a very lonely life mainly in the forest with the goats.

On one particular day, Anthony was escorting the goats alongside the road to Msambo Village when he met with two friends who were coming from the Msambo Complementary Basic Education project (CBE). They talked to him about the effects of child labor and the education they were receiving at the CBE. The next day, Anthony visited the CBE and asked if he could also enroll as a student. A review of his job and a meeting with his family determined that he was engaged in child labor. He was withdrawn from work and was enrolled at the CBE with support from ARISE.

Anthony now walks four kilometers everyday to attend class. He is able to read and write Chichewa and basic level English. Every time there is an assessment he scores in the top five of his class. In addition to CBE, Anthony is also attending vocational training class, which equips him with confidence and skills for the future.

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ARISE aims to end child labor in communities where JTI sources tobacco leaf. We work with those directly affected and with others who have the power to change things. Our initiatives are developed and delivered in collaboration with tobacco-growing communities, social partners and governments.