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Shira,
Primary Scholar,
Malawi

Shira lost both of her parents when she was 10 years old. She currently lives with her elderly grandmother.


Shira faced a number of barriers to attend school, including a lack of school uniform, shoes, and learning materials like pens and exercise books. Since her grandmother is very old, she cannot manage to grow sufficient crops to provide for the family. Oftentimes, Shira and her grandmother rely on well-wishers to give them food. To earn money, Shira would sometimes miss class to work in other people’s fields.

When Shira was in Standard 5, the local Mother Support Group visited the home and helped out in her grandmother’s garden. They also brought maize seeds and planted them in the garden to make sure that Shira would not miss classes so often looking for food. Good rains brought a good harvest, and the garden produced enough maize to last them until the next growing season.

Shira worked hard at school and she passed her exams to advance to Standard 6. In 2012, Shira was among 58 students who benefited from CAMFED Safety Net Funds and she received a school uniform and other necessities. 

“Before getting the uniform, I would not have the courage to stand in class because of the kind of clothes I used to wear.”

Her grandmother was pleased to learn that the School Based Committee had chosen Shira to be one of the beneficiaries of the Safety Net Fund. Since Shira has been receiving the support, she has been active in class and among the list of girls standing out for their academic performance.

“There was a great change in me when I was offered a school uniform because I knew that I would have peace of mind. I could comfortably raise up my hand and answer questions in class.”

Shira is working hard in school, with hopes of becoming a policewoman. She believes that her dream will come true, and then she will be able to help her family financially. When not at school or studying, Shira continues to spend her time in the field helping her grandmother.

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