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Tisiyenji,
CAMA Entrepreneur & Educationist,
Zambia

The first born of the family, Tisiyenji was raised in a household of four children in Kasama district, Zambia. Tragically her father, the breadwinner of the family, passed away when she was fourteen years old, leaving them unable to pay for her school going costs.

Tisiyenji was at the verge of dropping out of school when CAMFED stepped in. She was provided with essentials including school fees, uniform, shoes, stationery and books, as well as specialist support from a Teacher Mentor. With continuing support, Tisiyenji completed secondary school and went on to higher education. She now holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Zambia.

“I am the very first female in the family to graduate from university. Getting that chance to complete my education made me realize that the sky is not the limit - it’s just a stepping stone.”

In 2013, Tisiyenji joined the CAMFED alumnae network, CAMA, a peer support network for like-minded young women, which addresses rural isolation and provides a platform for stepping up for others.

Greatly inspired by CAMA’s leaders and the values of the largest network of its kind in Africa, Tisiyenji saw the need to be an example to the young girls in her community.

Tisiyenji has been elected by her peers to leadership positions within CAMA, serving as the the Secretary for the CAMA Lusaka Chapter, and in 2018 as leader in Kasama District.

Tisiyenji believes in focussing her energy and talents on making a lasting difference. She is a strong advocate for the importance of girls’ education, and against child marriages.

Tisi giving a speech to Prince Harry

Tisi giving a speech to Prince Harry and other young leaders at a Queen's Commonwealth Trust event in Lusaka. (Photo: CAMFED/Anke Adams)

Like many of her CAMA sisters, Tisiyenji has built entrepreneurial skills which help her to earn an income to support her future goals. She owns a home-based bakery, and with her profits she helps sustain her family’s livelihood. The reach of her philanthropy is broad; she supports her sister in school, helps four more students with school essentials, and assists a tertiary student.

“Through my education I learned that you don’t need to sit at home and wait for a job to come to you. You need create opportunities for yourself. I am now a role model to my family and community, because I’ve gone that extra mile to bring in money for the whole family. My business started making fritters, and it’s just kept growing.”

Noticing the difficulties that university students from disadvantaged backgrounds face in affording basic needs, including food, Tisiyenji spotted a potential solution. She plans to expand her business to provide mobile catering services at an affordable price.

“I chose to become a teacher because I want to give children that hope. I have been through what many of them are going through, and I believe that anyone can make it. I have gone back home to bring change to my community, and I am joining with other CAMA teachers, tutoring children in my community, to help them improve their grades, so that they can graduate and help more girls too.”

Tisiyenji’s long-term goal is to save funds and partner with other CAMA educationists to open a school that will provide easier access to education for children in her community.

Read Tisiyenji and Fatima's speech to Prince Harry