Fanny lives in a remote village in Malawi. She longed to have a childhood of going to school and playing with her friends - but when she was just 10 years old, her mother, a single parent, became too ill to support the family. With no one to turn to as a guardian or caregiver, Fanny had to step up as the head of the household.
“I was really disappointed when I saw my friends playing, because I had so many worries.”
Fanny’s mother and three of her young siblings relied on her to earn money, provide food, and take care of them. She found work in whatever ways she could; washing other people’s clothes or walking into the hills alone to collect firewood, or even plastic bags, to sell. Fanny was hungry, exhausted and having to put herself at risk each day.
Even with the burden of all her responsibilities, Fanny knew that education could change her path and she was determined to remain in school.
She would arrive late for her lessons every day, but never lost her place at the top of the class.
“When more people are educated, it is the same as development. It is a great change in life.”
Fanny dreamed of pursuing a career as a healthcare worker and providing her family with greater security. Then she would be able to break the vicious cycle of poverty her family had become trapped in. But with no way of raising the money required for secondary school-going costs, a brighter future seemed out of reach.
“After being empowered through education, we all have the capabilities to change things in life and become reliable citizens in this world.”
Then, Fanny heard she had been chosen to receive support from CAMFED. The entitlements she received included school uniforms, shoes, sanitary pads and books, as well as counselling from a trained Teacher Mentor.
With her right to education secured, and her hopes reignited, Fanny is now thriving in secondary school. She has to pause to consider what her favourite subject is - she enjoys so many! Her future is now hers to shape, and she hopes to excel in the sciences to help her secure her dream job.
“I’m moving forward with education. I see all the possibilities now CAMFED is supporting me.”
After school, Fanny will be able to join the CAMFED Association (CAMA), a powerful peer support and leadership network active across five African countries. She is already thinking about how she can give back to her community and lead change in Malawi. Most of all, she hopes to support other vulnerable girls, particularly those from child-headed households, to access education.
“I’m the leader! I’ve got the potential! If I’m not going to change the world, the world is going to be the same. The world is waiting for me to change it!”