Growing up, life wasn’t easy. My family struggled to afford my basic needs and school fees. I desperately wanted to stay in school alongside my fellow classmates but knew I would eventually have no choice but to drop out. That was until CAMFED stepped in and supported me through school with school fees, uniform, stationery and menstrual products.
With CAMFED’s support, I completed secondary school and went on to pursue tertiary education, graduating as a nurse in 2019. Through my work as a nurse, I am also an educator, a researcher, a manager and an advocate. When working on the ward I manage my fellow nurses and medical resources effectively and I am often in a position to advocate for my patients’ rights. During my time working in Nkhata Bay as a midwife, I would reach out to girls and young women about the risks of early pregnancy and the importance of continuing with their education.>
I also joined the Malawi Defense force this year as a second lieutenant. I mostly lead the platoon and sometimes I’m the platoon commander. On inauguration day, November 2, 2022, I was invited to the state house to meet the president for Poppy Week, in which we remember those who fought in World War Two and World War One. I felt honored to be chosen to pin a poppy on the president’s jacket, as the poppies are sold to fundraise for veterans and are a symbol of respect to all those who fought in both World Wars. (See us pictured above.)
When not in training, I am an active member of the CAMFED Association, which I joined in 2014. I attend meetings with my fellow CAMFED Association sisters and together we carry out different philanthropic activities in the community, including role modeling sessions. As a sisterhood, we support and uplift each other, and I often encourage those sisters who have not done so well in their Form 4 exams to not give up on their education and to go back to school, and after graduation to pursue opportunities such as in business.
Reflecting on my journey so far, I am so proud of myself for working hard and remaining resilient. In achieving my nursing degree and joining the Malawi Defense Force, I am able to pay my education forward and last year I pledged to pay tuition fees for one college student for a semester. I can proudly say that I have been able to fulfill my pledge and this year I paid tuition fees for a student at Kamuzu College of Nursing. I have also managed to support my father at home and my siblings with their school fees.
I am living testimony of the importance of girls’ education. It creates game changers, like us CAMFED Association members, who are not afraid of doing things differently and are willing to use their own resources to support the next generation of girls to learn and thrive.
Because I am a CAMFED Association member, I believe in the power of giving back to my society. The day I delivered a baby on the roadside, I was motivated to help her deliver safely because of my love for rural women and children.
I'm Tawonga from Malawi. With CAMFED support I completed my education and studied agriculture at EARTH University. Now I am plowing back my climate-smart knowledge into my community and supporting young women farmers to increase their yields and create jobs for other young people.