Ndjoka, Malawi


Photographer: Bente Marei Stachowske

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

Evelyin Chasweka, 14, is president of the children’s parliament in Ndjoka, a village in south-east Malawi. Chosen by children in the village, she and the twenty or so other members of the parliament meet once a week to talk about issues such as unemployment and poverty, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and child marriage and labour. As they search for ways of tackling the problems their village faces, they learn how to work as members of a group, expressing their opinions and listening to the arguments of others. Once they decide what they want, Evelyin and the other members of her parliament take their demands to their village leaders. The force behind the parliament is Daughters of Mary Immaculate, a charity based in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. It helps establish child parliaments around the world, believing that when children have knowledge of their rights they can take things into their own hands and change them for the better