Rose Ngwira’s world abruptly changed in 2005 when her parents divorced. As in most Malawian families, her father was the sole bread winner, and as such, the divorce between her parents left her and her mother with nothing to rely on, “It did not take long before we realized our life had became more than unbearable; he left my mother pregnant and we had no reserve food in the house, my mother was failing to secure even a cup full of maize corn,” Rose, now 21, explains with determination, showing the strength she gained from this experience.
Rose was the eldest of her other two siblings and she had to use the time after her primary school classes to do small jobs in other peoples households, using the money she earned to buy sweet potatoes in order to provide a single meal each day for the whole family.
“My heart was so happy and from then on, I never went to school late and never did I walk barefooted as the scholarship also provided money for uniform and shoes. My life became easier and my performance immediately improved.”
Soon after the divorce, Rose and her siblings, moved back to their mother’s home village in Kasungu. Despite the move, nothing looked rosy for Rose. Although she was the only girl from her school to be chosen to attend Kasungu secondary school in 2009, she had no idea where they would find the money to cover the fees. “When I got selected, some well wishers gave me note books and my grandmother gave me K500 (an equivalent of US$1.00) which was not even enough for transportation, but this was all I had for the whole school term. I walked to school a distance of two hours and stayed in boarding,” she narrates.
The income situation did not change in her mother’s household and although Rose and her Grandmother sought out funding, each term passed without enough funding to ensure she would be able to finish. Because she was unable to pay her fees, her mother recommended she get married. Although she knew her mother felt forced to suggest this solution, she was still surprised and upset as she didn’t expect her to give in so quickly.
But then, Rose met a member of the CARE Malawi team. “I met Amos Moses, a Join My Village field officer who upon hearing my story got together with his fellow JMV staff and promised to provide me with scholarship and pocket money. My heart was so happy and from then on, I never went to school late and never did I walk barefooted as the scholarship also provided money for uniform and shoes. My life became easier and my performance immediately improved” Rose said excitedly.
Thanks to Join My Village, Rose remained in school and was elected to represent Kasungu Central as a Youth Parliamentarian member. She has managed to finish her secondary school and will soon sit for university entrance examination.
The life that we go through sometimes leaves us with no options other than to grab a hold of whatever comes our way. As for Rose, who used to dream of becoming a Lawyer, her mindset has been somewhat changed, “I now have no choice of what to pursue, I will take whatever comes as long as it is something to do with school and matches my grades.”