Student Driven Solutions Testimonies

Hear a story from Mayamiko Chiwaya an SDS graduate

“Today we were graduating for the financial literacy course we have been taking. I was awarded the leadership award. I think I was awarded as a leader because when we were carrying a project on empowering girls not to engage in early sexual relationship I was the one who was leading the team so I think that’s the reason why I was given the award. I learned that a leader has to be patient and understanding and tolerant to other people. I hope the girls who saw our play are going to change because I saw that they are really including what they have learned in the essays they wrote. So that makes me think that they really understand what we were teaching them. I feel good because it is always my wish to help my fellow girls to empower them so I feel good that I am now in the process of helping others. I will continue to help other girls. I am also going to encourage others to help with me. At my home village there is a lot of prostitution so I wish I could change that. The only support I know can be financially so that I can start that.

To the next group of SDS students, I will encourage them to be patient, attentive, and punctual. I hope they interact because Student Driven Solutions as I know is all about interaction. I just want to thank Rebecca so that you should continue with this program. I’m so proud of you for starting this program because you are helping some young ladies like us who can’t manage to go do some business courses at different colleges. You have really helped us.”

Clement Udedi on why he joined the SDS Board

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“As a board member I provide technical advise on how best we can implement our activities. The biggest question you may ask is why did I get involved. The story started five years ago. I have a daughter. She’s five. As a country, culturally, there’s a preference for boys. I think you would agree with me people would say you should have started with a boy. For me I said but there’s potential in every child. That changed my perception in terms of how I look at the world. I said I will prove that all children have equal potential as long as they’re given the same chances. When SDS came I felt that whatever they are doing is in line with the passion that I have for my daughter. I wanted to join the board because SDS is empowering girls in financial literacy and I believe those kinds of skills will help us to make a change in our community. Because its not just about what we are doing here. But when we go back, we need to impact our community. We need to be leaders in our community.”

Isha Gomani is happy to be an SDS graduate

“I am happy to be graduated. I was a student of Student Driven Solutions. Today I received an award for my good attendance. I am very happy. I am going to do a business so I will be able to help my community and my family of 9 children. Student Driven Solutions is a program that teaches girls on financial literacy and business skills. As of now I have learned so much skills on business like how to save, how to attract customers, and so many others. The next girls coming to the SDS program should work hard. They should attend all the classes so they get more skills.”

How does Isha’s mom, Grace Gomani, feel about SDS?

“I came to the loan awarding ceremony because I was interested in Rebecca’s program so I wanted to witness what she started as it was going to an end. I am expecting to see the growth of my daughter’s business because you people have taught them well. We need to make sure the girls take this seriously because they are new to the business so we will just have to encourage them in one way or another.”

What does Eliza Gama, local chief, have to say about SDS?

“I came to the loan awarding ceremony to witness the presentation of businesses to our girls. The program was great. I wasn’t expecting this. Now that I see what the girls have received I am expecting the girls’ businesses to progress. This is something I don’t take for granted. The SDS program will help those girls in need for support. Because they are starting businesses they will be helping others.”

Let’s talk about Ellen Mphaya

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Since joining Student Driven Solutions, Ellen has opened a bank account. Now, she invests small amounts of money in her bank account so that her money can grow. When she gets an allowance from her parents, she puts the money away so that she can use her money to achieve her long-term goals. Ellen says she enjoys learning about how to organize her income and expenses and how to save for the future.

Ellen said that she has learned how to voice out about issues in the village and help the chief better understand what is happening in the community. She told us that the mentors have encouraged her to continue her school and set goals. She is thankful to the teachers for serving as role models and encouraging her.

After every lesson Ellen goes home to tell her mom and dad what she learned at Student Driven Solutions. Her mom told us that she can see the change in her daughter since enrolling in the program. She says she loves the program because she can see that Ellen is more passionate about school. Her mom noted, “These girls are becoming better human beings because of the program. They are going far and giving back to the community.”

Ellen hopes to open a business selling clothes imported from Tanzania. She wants to make these products accessible to her community and she sees an opportunity for growing the business. She told us that she is more confident in her ability to open this shop because of the skills she has learned at Student Driven Solutions. She says, “I know I can handle the business wisely.” Good luck Ellen! We believe in you.

Meet Anarister

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Anarister is a Malindi alumini of the class of 2014. When she was in school, her favorite subject was English. She believes education is important because it changes a person’s illiteracy and helps her to get a job in future. Anarister stays with her Grandmother, her sister Yvonne and her brother Precious. Her favorite things to do are cooking, washing and going to the market. She is working hard to have a better future and help her relatives. Anarister said, “Student Driven Solutions and Little Big Prints help me to be able to develop families and the society.”

Who is Anastanzia?

11082276_869690169758774_8597540610933557725_oAnastanzia is a Form 3 student at Malindi. She stays with her parents and 10 siblings. She walks to school everyday, a distance of about 45 minutes. Her favorite subject is Chichewa and she says she is working hard towards being a nurse. In her free time Anastanzia likes reading and eating good food. Anastanzia says, “I feel lucky to be a part of LBP and SDS because I learn different things every week that are helpful to me as a girl child and a citizen of Malawi.” Thank you Anastanzia for sharing your story!

Get to know Mary Chimenya

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Mary is a Form 4 student at Malindi. She stays with her mom and her three siblings in Chikanda. Her favorite subject is English. She is working hard so she can get selected into the University of Malawi. She wants to be a lecturer or a police officer. She wants to work very hard to go to University because she has had difficulties in her schooling but she perseveres. She walks long distances to get to school and she says conditions in her home are unhygienic due to poverty. When she is not studying, she loves to play with her friends. When asked about how she feels about LBP and SDS she said, “I appreciate the mentors because they inspire me to do better so I can be like them.” Thank you Mary for sharing your story!

Mr. Phiri talks about why SDS is a good initiative for Malawi

Introducing Mr. Phiri

Meet Mr. Joseph Phiri, one of our SDS teachers. Mr. Phiri teaches Chichewa and Bible Knowledge to Form 1 and 4 at Malindi. He has been teaching since 1993. He began teaching at the Primary school level and then switched to Secondary school after finishing his degree at the Domasi College of Education. He has also received a Bachelors in Theology from Chancellor College. Mr. Phiri always knew he wanted to be a teacher. His mother and two sisters are teachers. To him, it happened naturally. He said, “I wanted to be a teacher to help my country in educating the young ones.” According to Phiri, “his heart is for the young people.” He is married to Constance and has four sons. He is a pastor for the Christ Citadel International Church.

When asked about Student Driven Solutions, this is what he said:

“This program is good. Of course, it is quite challenging because it is being introduced for the first time in this school. But, I believe we can encourage these girls to inculcate responsibility. Young people often expect the governments to solve their problems. This program changes the mindset. It teaches students that they can come up with the solutions for their community and their country. Among the girls who were selected from the program, some of the girls are from problematic backgrounds in the sense that some of them had to dropout due to early pregnancy but we are optimistic that this program will help them change their mindset and also it will encourage them so that they can forget the past and move forward. We chose them deliberately, considering their backgrounds. We believe this program will transform them. They will develop that responsibility to do something for the community, for the nation, and for themselves. The chief said that she is excited about this program because she sees leaders in the girls that are going to be trained. And it is our plea that this program should continue next year. You shouldn’t let us down. We need your support.”