FORMER British High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, who is now British Ambassador to Iceland, has hailed the efforts of rapper Limbani Kalilani, well known as Tay Grin, in supporting Malawian girls.
In an email response to The Sunday Times questionnaire, Nevin said the fundraising event that took place in Iceland on Wednesday, during which Tay Grin and Iceland’s First Lady performed, was a great example of how the two countries can work together.
“It shows the strong interest of the two countries [in the sense] that [they] can come together to raise awareness and support the cause of girls education through the medium of music, connecting younger generation through artists like Tay Grin, Hildur [an Icelandic musician and feminist] and Tiny [an Icelandic hip hop star and equalist],” Nevin said.
Nevin’s wife Sawako – who originated the idea for the fundraising event on Wednesday— shed light on the background of the event.
“Tay Grin is a great musician and a passionate HeForShe campaigner. In cooperation with UN Women Malawi, Tay Grin did his first HeForShe school visit earlier this year to talk to the boys and show them how to respect girls and treat them as equals. Tay Grin is popular among all generations so children would listen to what he says,” she said.
Sawako said it was important for Malawi to change the traditional mindset which hinders progress in the country. “Girls need education as much as boys do. House chores are not only for girls or women. Early marriage is not a solution to poverty.
Menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of or laughed at and it should not keep girls from going to school,” she said. Tay Grin, who performed at Secret Solstice Festival on June 17 before the fundraising event on June 21, said he was excited to support girls’ education in Malawi.
“If we are to develop as a country, we must give equal opportunities to everyone. Ensuring that everyone accesses education should be our priority and it is very sad to learn that some girls fail to go to school because they cannot afford the necessities such as sanitary pads,” he said.
Sawako said the money raised during the event would be sent to UN Women Malawi to be used for the purchase of washable sanitary pads through Girls Empowerment Network (Genet).
“Tay Grin will personally hand them out to girls in the presence of boys during his next HeForShe school visit with UN Women. I hope this will remove the awkwardness or negativity towards menstruation and help girls keep going to school,” she said.
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