CARE, My Inspiration

Written By: Madalitso Banda

Selina Kamanga’s parents came from the Dowa district to Kasungu, Malawi, to work in the tobacco farms as tenants, back when tobacco was a high earning cash crop in Malawi. However, since 2006, tobacco has ceased to be profitable crop, and hence, many tobacco farms have closed, leaving the tenants and their families destitute.

When I first met Selina, she introduced herself saying, “My name is Selina Kamanga. I am so inspired by CARE, because it has transformed my life and allowed me to live my dream.”

“I had a dream to become a community development worker and teach others, but as I reached standard seven, I started experiencing a lack of necessary items in terms of school requirements. I would go to school without shoes, sometimes without eating anything, in a worn school uniform. The issue of sanitation became a challenge, especially when I was observing menstruation. This trend continued until I took my primary school examination and got accepted to Linyangwa Community Day Secondary School,” Selina explained.

“I was excited that I passed and got selected to attend secondary school, but on the other hand, there was no money for my school fees and other school requirements,” she continued.

Since 2009, CARE has given scholarships to more than 1,000 vulnerable girls in Kasungu, empowering young girls and increasing the number of girls who can continue their education after primary school. Selina Kamanga received a scholarship from CARE to attend secondary school.

“I have been happy since the day that CARE came to my rescue by proving me with a scholarship to attend secondary school at Linyangwa and then to attend Loudon Teachers Training College. Through this I have learned a lot. I have learned how to sew reusable sanitary pads and learned to be a better role model and mentor through skills and assertiveness training.”

“For six years, I have been inspired by CARE Malawi, especially the building of houses for female teachers, classroom blocks and sanitary facilities, as well as teaching women and girls how to sew reusable sanitary pads and training women in Village Saving and Loan Associations. All this inspires me more, and I know one day I will work for CARE Malawi and assist other vulnerable girls, because CARE rescued me from early marriage,” Selina described.

She continued, “Getting married young is not a choice, but rather a state of confusion because of a shattered dream that comes about because of poverty. I was about to do the same earlier in the course of my education when I lacked the necessities for secondary school.”

Selina is now one of 11 beneficiaries who have finished their courses at Loudon Teachers Training College, courtesy of CARE. She is now waiting to be posted to a duty station by the Ministry of Education in Malawi.

“I am strong, I am empowered, and I am transformed. Thanks to CARE for dreaming with me,” she concluded.