THE STORIES of girls being sold into child marriage are to be highlighted by Scots school children in time for International Women’s Day.

Scots actress Deirdre Davis visited communities across northern Malawi where she heard from girls who had been sold by relatives.

The former River City star has now joined forces with Scottish school girls to launch a photo exhibition which tells the stories of Malawian girls who have been recovered and helped to return to school.

School children will read out the girls’ stories at an event in the Scottish Parliament today – International Women’s Day.

During her time in the country, Deirdre met 14-year-old Gertrude, who was sold by her uncle to a 41-year-old man for the equivalent of just £3.

She is one of a number of young people being supported by aid charity Tearfund Scotland, which helps communities across northern Malawi challenge the practice and support young women to return to education.

Deidre, who played Eileen Donachie in the BBC soap, said: “It’s hard to imagine how frightened someone like Gertrude must have been and how utterly terrified her mother was to know her child was missing and to fear the worst.

“And then to find out that your daughter has been sold to some man for three quid. That’s what you pay for a chicken round these parts.”

“With the help of Tearfund partners and with Scottish support, child marriage in Malawi is becoming a thing of the past. Girls and boys are learning empowerment and self-esteem.

“They’re learning that they’re worth more than a chicken, that their lives don’t have a price and they can’t be sold – to anybody.”

Meanwhile, the inspiring story of a 19th century pioneer in UK education has been uncovered by researchers at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland ahead of International Women’s Day.

In 1892, the founding institution of the Royal Conservatoire appointed its first professor … Emma Ritter-Bondy. Not only was Emma the first to be bestowed with the title at the Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music, she is believed to be the very first female professor of a UK higher education institution.