Beating the odds!
By Eleanor Macheso ( and contributed by Francisco Fhote)
Born and raised in Dowa district, Maligerita’s upbringing was not significantly different from that of her peers. Like most of them, she was raised in an underprivileged household. Even though that was the case, her parents underscored the importance of education and encouraged her to attend school. While she was able to finish primary school with considerable ease, the money to pay for school fees was not as easy to come by once she got to secondary school.
According to her father, Maligerita could not have continued her education past form one because of the financial strain that paying for her secondary school fees had put him under. “I am a subsistence farmer with five children who all depend on me. Because of that, by the time Maligerita had reached the third term in form one, I was already falling behind on the school fees…” remarked Mr Kawale.
What set Maligerita apart, however, was the academic prowess that she continuously demonstrated in her school work. As fate would have it, her aptitude turned out to be her saving grace. To ease the burden that her parents, and especially her father, were bearing in terms of school fees, Maligerita applied for There is Hope’s Secondary School Scholarship which is awarded based on academic performance and need.
Launched in 2016, the program targets vulnerable refugee and Malawian students living in the communities within and around Dzaleka Refugee Camp with the aim of supporting them in secondary school education by providing them with a scholarship package that pays for their education and boarding costs. Under the scholarship, the beneficiaries are also provided with packages of basic needs throughout their academic journey.
In her application, Maligerita was successful and thanks to the full scholarship that was provided by There is Hope, she was able to continue with her studies with ease which she did not have before. The relief was also extended to her father who confirmed that he was very happy when There is Hope decided to start sponsoring his daughter. The organization was able to cater for Maligerita’s academic and personal needs from her third term in form one until she completed form four.
“Before There is Hope offered me a scholarship, I faced a lot of difficulties in my studies because my parents were not able to pay for my school fees. However, after I became a beneficiary of There is Hope, a lot changed for the better. I was able to focus on my studies and not worry about being sent back from school because of fees as it used to happen before…” Maligerita responded when asked how the help that she received from There is Hope had impacted her life.
During the four years that she was at Madisi Secondary School, she maintained her excellent grades and managed to score 21 points when she sat for the 2021 Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE). Her efforts finally paid off with her selection to Mzuzu University where she is going to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (Education).
According to Maligerita, “This could not have been possible without the help that I received from There is Hope. I am so grateful for the support because I managed to get my MSCE and now I have been selected to go to Mzuzu University.” According to Maligerita’s father, she is the first person from her extended family to go past secondary school education and being selected into a reputable University is the icing on the cake!
When asked what she would like to say to her peers who are still in secondary school, without missing a beat Maligerita remarked, “I want to encourage my friends to work hard and I wish them all the best. I would also like to encourage those that are in the same position as me to apply for the scholarship so they can get the opportunity and benefit in the same way that I have benefitted”.