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Shouldering the Burden Many Children in Malawi Face

While other children play football or watch cartoons at home after school, nine-year-old Gift Phiri goes to work. After his day at primary school in Mchengautuwa, in Malawi’s northern city of Mzuzu, the nine-year-old goes home to start work, hammering sharp-edged metal sheets, shaping them into charcoal cooking stoves. Gift, who lives with his grandmother, two younger siblings and another relative, started making the stoves after being trained by his grandfather when he was six. His grandfather, who had provided the only source of income for the family, died earlier this year after a long illness. So Gift took up the mantle as the provider for the family. Eye of the Child, a project from the Firelight Foundation, which champions child rights, said child neglect was on the rise, in line with an increase in child marriage for girls. More than 40% of girls in Malawi are married under 18.