She didn’t think that she would be a teacher…She wanted to be a policewoman.
As a primary school teacher who happens to live very close to the secondary school, Ms. Changuya generously started volunteering her home in 2013 as a safe space for girls to pick up pads from WEP and use a sanitary restroom. She has been integral to the Women’s Empowerment Project’s strong beginning and successes so far.
Before she completed her own secondary schooling, she wanted to be in the police force, but things don’t always go according to plan. According to Ms. Changuya, “In Malawi, the challenge is the scarc[ity] of jobs. So you [have to] join any job which is available.” This job scarcity has been extending to younger generations; Ms. Changuya wonders what her students will face when they graduate.
“As you are young, you think of other duties...I wasn’t taken when I applied for the police”. She stayed at home for 4 or 5 years, then found it hard to go back to school. She ended up finding a program that focused on shadowing and assisting teachers toward becoming a teacher.
There are two ways of finding employment as a teacher in rural Malawi: one where aspiring teachers go straight to college for three years and then wait for postings from the government, and another, where teachers are selected to teach right away by the government, then during the holidays attend college classes. The selection program takes much longer to complete, but includes more in-classroom learning than a traditional program, thus making it more favorable for schools in high demand of teachers, like Nsondole.
Since she has started volunteering with Story Time, she has noticed a difference in herself. She told us that it feels great to give back to the community.
In one of her letters to us, Ms. Changuya reported, “Each month end I was collecting average attendance to find out if it was working. And I found that no girl was absent from classes due to menstrual periods.” The girls at Nsondole have praised her participation in the program, because of how difficult it is to express some of their needs to male teachers.
She has helped both the girls and the program by being a community member who the participants could come to if they needed any help. Her feedback and communication about what the girls appreciated and saw as possible improvements, has made the project better and better over the years. From the Story Time Team, we thank Ms. Changuya for her continued service and dedicated heart.
If you too support the rights of young women to self-determine and care for themselves, donate to the Women’s Empowerment Project by clicking the button below.