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Prioritizing Education For Urban Children

Ensuring the welfare of children is a matter of utmost significance, particularly amid the urbanization challenges confronting nations such as Malawi. The vulnerability of children in urban environments underscores the pressing need for robust measures to safeguard their well-being. As urbanization continues to expand and poses difficulties for many children, it prompts a closer examination of how Islamic principles can be leveraged to promote their wholesome upbringing.

Within Malawi’s urban landscapes, a distressing reality persists wherein numerous children face significant barriers to accessing education. This unfortunate circumstance not only perpetuates cycles of poverty but also heightens susceptibility to criminal activities, increases the risk of early marriages for girls, and exacerbates alarming illiteracy rates.

The National Report on the Implementation Progress of the 2021 New Urban Agenda emphasizes Malawi’s commitment to equity and the inclusion of vulnerable groups for achieving social inclusion and poverty alleviation. Despite these commitments, a segment of children remains out of school due to factors like poverty and parental neglect. This discrepancy between policy aspirations and actual situation needs attention.

Islam instructs human beings to safeguard the rights of children and ensure their well-being. In the Noble Qur’an Allah (God) Almighty commands: “Do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, killing them is a grave sin.” This verse stresses the sanctity of children’s lives and the responsibility to protect them from harm.

Furthermore, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) emphasized the importance of nurturing and educating children. He said, “Whoever does not show mercy to our young ones nor acknowledge the rights of our elders is not one of us”. This prophetic teaching highlights the obligation to show compassion and care towards children, ensuring their rights are upheld.

In present-day Malawi, numerous children in urban areas encounter obstacles in their pursuit of education, perpetuating cycles of poverty and exposing them to various societal risks. Islam advocates for the pursuit of knowledge and education, recognizing them as avenues for empowerment and societal progress. Allah (God) asserts: “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?”

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) stressed the paramount importance of seeking knowledge, stating, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory. This teaching highlights the mandatory nature of education and underscores the responsibility to ensure children have access to learning opportunities.

In this context, addressing the needs of vulnerable children in urban settings is essential for actualizing the inclusive wealth objectives outlined in the Malawi 2063 blueprint. However, it’s disheartening that children deprived of education cannot fully reap the benefits of the inclusive wealth envisioned in Malawi’s 2063 blueprint.