CAMFED Association member and Nursing student
I grew up with my grandparents, living in a village with them since I was two years old. My mother gave birth to me while she was still in school, so my grandmother took care of me.
My life during school was challenging. I did not have a supportive group of friends and sometimes got bullied, so that affected me and caused my grades to drop. I was also walking long distances to and from school and that was demotivating. Receiving support from CAMFED was life changing for me. It included boarding fees so I did not have the long journey, giving me more time to focus on my studies. From that time I was hopeful that I would complete my secondary school and have a better future.
I was very happy to be among the girls chosen to receive support through university. I chose to study Nursing and Midwifery at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences because I want a career where I will be able to serve human needs. A career in health means I will be able to help save people’s lives. After completing my studies I hope I’ll get the chance to work in one of the big hospitals.
I hope to get to a place where I am independent in life, no longer limited by poverty, so that I can provide a better life for my family and my community.
Where I come from, girls are relied on by their families, so educating a girl means she will have a better chance of supporting them. I am already helping my family from the little money I make with my business. I buy and resell wraps and I am planning to also start selling groundnuts. When girls are empowered, the mindset that only boys are supposed to do certain things will be changed.
Some of the biggest challenges around education in Malawi include long distances to walk to school, lack of resources to help children in their studies, and a lack of role models, because most people have not gone past primary school with their education. Like many girls, I also experienced pressure to marry young and was approached countless times with marriage proposals while I was at school. I have motivational talks and encourage the girls in our community to focus on their education.
I am a living example that a girl can make it in life despite facing a lot of challenges.
As women leaders in the CAMFED Association we support our communities by doing charitable works. Sometimes we contribute money and visit people in the hospital with essential items. We help the elderly with household chores and go to primary school to distribute notebooks and pens to the learners. Previously I also offered some teaching for preschool children, as a way to give their parents some free time.
Being part of this Sisterhood has been a positive experience for me. I have attended training through the Transition Guide Program where we were taught different things including how we can go about running a business. My role model is a fellow CAMFED Association member, Ruth, who studied Engineering. I remember wanting to be like her, she is my inspiration.
I would tell younger girls that it is important to surround yourself with people who can encourage you because we all face challenges in life and sometimes you need support from people closest to you.
Ten years from now I will be an independent woman, supporting my family, my community and also serving my country at the same time. I hope that the people who are coming after me will not face the same challenges I did.