FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has asked chieftainess Nyanje not to forsake her because she is her daughter.

Speaking when she paid a courtesy call at the traditional leader’s palace in Sinda District, Monday, Esther asked the chieftainess to keep her in her heart as a daughter even if she had delayed to visit her.

Esther, who spoke in Nsenga, expressed delight in the way she was welcomed by her royal highness.

“Mother, I am so excited and grateful in the manner you have welcomed me. Osanitaya yai ndine mwana wanu. Olo nicelwe kuwela ndine mwana wanu mphera (Don’t neglect me, I am your child. Even if I delay to come and see you, I am still your child,” Esther said.

The First Lady explained that she had decided to pay a courtesy call so that she could receive blessings from the chieftainess before moving around her chiefdom.

She also told the traditional leader that her aim was to sensitise local residents not to marry off young girls, but to take them to school and that those that fell pregnant should get back to school.

“Our job is to encourage girls to be in school and women need to be empowered, too. The government complains to see young girls being married off and that saddens the President too much. Government built schools everywhere aiming for pupils to get educated,” she said.

Earlier, chieftainess Nyanje earlier told the First Lady that she was excited to meet her once again.

“Neo nabalandila na mtima umo. Nutembezya pa nchito yumugwila yotiphunzitsa kusunga bwino banthu kuti bana anakazi aphunzire akokuya ku sukulu (I have welcomed you with one heart. I appreciate the role you play to educate us on how to keep people well so that the girl child gets educated by going to school),” chieftainess Nyanje said.

She appreciated the government for the development taken to the chiefdom.

“Development is going on well here like at Nyanje Mission Hospital, the flats you built for us, we appreciate. Here, I thank government for the palace it built for me, which is like those we find in Kabulonga, I appreciate with all my heart and never relax or give up. Keep up with this good heart of remembering us,” she said.

The traditional leader also asked for logistical support as well as mattresses for Nyanje Mission Hospital to help local residents.

“I, as your mother, I don’t have legs to use to move and I complain a lot because the one I normally use isn’t mine; I just borrow from children and when I have a trip, I suffer a lot. The other thing is that your children at Nyanje are sleeping on the floor, lacking mattresses,” said Chieftainess Nyanje, challenges which the First Lady promised to address.

And in Matambazi, the First Lady thanked people for voting for President Edgar Lungu, a sign she said showed that they loved him with all their hearts.

“The first thing is the greeting from the President whom you elected with all your hearts. He asked me to greet you and he said he loves the people of Sinda so much and I have also known that you love him so much, but for me, I desire to thank you for the big role you played, you helped us to work well in this job through your prayers…” she said.

And Esther encouraged girls to value school more than marriages because education remained key to their destiny.

“I would like to present my displeasure on issues relating to teenage pregnancies and unintended marriages. In a village set-up, it is perceived as normal for a young girl to be married off…and shamefully parents support such,” she bemoaned.

Esther revealed that in Matambazi Primary School, 16 pupils fell pregnant, but only five went back to school.

Meanwhile, the First Lady handed over various items at Matambazi Health Centre, Matambazi Primary School and to teenage mothers.

Some of the donated items included football jerseys, computers, wheelchairs, hospital beds, mealie meal, among others.

Sinda District Commissioner Paradious Sakala thanked the First Lady for visiting the area.