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Merck Foundation, First Lady launch ‘children story’ to teach youth family values of love

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation (L) and H.E. Gertrude Mutharika, the First Lady of Malawi during the launch of children’s storybook in Malawi (PHOTO/APO)

LILONGWE, Malawi – Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with the First Lady of Malawi, H.E. Gertrude Mutharika together with Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information have launched an inspiring children story of Limbani and Takondwa for young people to strengthen family values of love and respect since young ages.

The book has a special message from the First Lady who happens to be the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother and Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother addressed to the young readers.

Dr. Kelej emphasized, “I am very happy to launch together with the First Lady and Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information, Merck Foundation’s children story to emphasize strong family values of love and respect from young age which will reflect on eliminating the stigma of infertility and resulted domestic violence in the future. The story of Limbani and Takondwa is a story of a husband and wife who couldn’t have children but they never lost love or respect for each other, the man supported his wife during the fertility treatment journey and acknowledged that he too can be the cause of infertility and lived happily ever after. He also acknowledged that even if they both couldn’t bring children for any reason that they will still love and respect each other’s because they are more than parents.”

“It’s important for parents and caregivers to start teaching respect and nurturing empathy from a very young age. We should teach boys these qualities at their schools and through media. I believe both boys and girls need the same kind of guidance. Just like girls, young boys gradually learn how to control their behavior during their pre-school and elementary school years. This story is our way to empower our boys to develop true respect for women and know few facts about Infertility prevention and how it affects both men and women equally,” added Dr. Kelej.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation (L) and H.E. Gertrude Mutharika, the First Lady of Malawi during the launch of children’s storybook in Malawi (PHOTO/APO)

She said “Reading Limbani’s story will teach our children to respect and value all people regardless of being parents or not. It will also help preparing our children for tomorrow with the right family values of love and respect. Everyone deserves respect and love, and should never ever be overlooked or, worse, abused —even if they are childless.”

The First Lady said that “Childless women still suffer from discrimination and ostracism. Therefore, I am happy to work closely with Merck Foundation to empower women and raise awareness among communities with special focus on the youth (both and girls) through this story. Women are not just mothers; they are productive members in society and should be respected. This book will help disseminating this message to the youth of our nation”

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