Jack is the Education Manager for African Vision Malawi (aka Landirani Trust). He tells us here his story and struggle for his own education growing up.
Growing up with a single parent and three older siblings in sub-Saharan region Malawi in a very remote southern part -Thyolo district – I have encountered lots of challenges. Divorce might be an answer to a troubled marriage but it leaves lots of scars in children. My parents divorced when I was about two -so I was told. My father took good care of us but I missed motherly love. For many years I used to believe that I didn’t have a mother and that was the biggest scar divorce left me.
I never had opportunity for kindergarten as there was none – just village life. At age six, I started primary school. I felt great and safe being at school because my older siblings were there in upper classes. Shortly afterwards, my father developed chronic illness that hampered his farming activities. Support for us slowed, which lead to my two sisters dropping out of school and opting for marriages. This was the time my brother and I were made to grow faster than our ages because of responsibilities to look after our sickly father and to manage farms. Unfortunately, my father died in 1995 while I was in standard five and my brother was in form two at Zomba Catholic National Secondary, one of the prestigious schools in the old capital city of Malawi. Then my brother remained the only encouragement/support and my role model.
I worked hard in school as I wanted to go to a good secondary school like my brother’s. Indeed, that happened as I attended Blantyre Secondary in the very heart of commercial city of Blantyre. Support for secondary education was another big challenge. I dropped out after writing my Junior Certificate of Education (JCE) for lack of tuition fees, the government came to my rescue by providing a bursary but I had already missed two consecutive terms at form three and re-joined in third term. (Thanks to then Honourable Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Jack Kaphuka, for facilitating the process.)
Looking back in my life, I developed a strong belief that education could change my world for the better. I graduated in secondary as best student in humanities. This achievement made me believe in myself for great things. Then I joined Emmanuel Teachers Training College (ETTC) for two years certificate. I also thank ETTC for giving me a scholarship for two years of my studies. Still, I craved for higher academic qualifications but there were no resources. When I was about to graduate at ETTC, I met Annika Ovander a missionary from Sweden in my Church (Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi (ELCM)) who sponsored my undergraduate – majoring in Biblical Studies and minor in Communication at African Bible Colleges (ABC) in Lilongwe capital city of Malawi – where I graduated among the top ten in 2009. During my studies the college gave me opportunities to work with different INGOs and to interact with different professionals from various fields. (Thank God for ‘Mum’ Annika Ovander, Maria Lindmark, Anna Norman, Lars and Andes Ovander for their support).
Before joining Landirani Trust in 2011, I worked with my local Church in leading youth ministry and deanary level responsible for youth work in three districts from central region.
In the midst of busy of life, I learnt few years ago that my mother was still living. My brother and I thought of finding her. Today, she is able to get support she needs from her children in her old age. To be able to do this, I am grateful to the Landirani Trust for some income since 2011 that I am able to help not only myself but also my mother and the relatives.
Life experience has taught me great lessons and, regardless of everything, I have seen the mysteries of life. Other people came into my life with love and support for my education etc. Today Landirani Trust has given me opportunity to give back by helping others who need support and guidance through the various education projects I manage. I love working with Landirani, mostly because when I look through my life, I feel it is important doing what I am doing. The ‘Trust’ itself has also given me significant experience in terms of management and leadership – above all the reality of engaging communities in developmental projects.
To the Landirani Trust supporters in UK, Malawi and beyond, I would say that what you have read about me is in part what the ‘Trust’ is doing through its secondary and university scholarship. In addition to other development projects such as school partnership, Early Childhood Development, Community Library and many others. I believe education is a backbone of development for every nation and I believe I am contributing to the development of my country ‘Malawi’ through what I am doing through the Trust, so, I am a good example of what education can do!
You can read all the Education projects that Jack manages here.
If you would like to donate to Jack’s education work, please click here. Thank you!