Back to class…
By Francisco Fhote
Forditor is a 22 year old Malawian girl who was born in a family of 6 comprising 3 girls and 1 boy. After being selected to pursue secondary school education at Chinkoka CDSS in Madisi, Dowa, Forditor was caught up in the ills of adolescence, like many girls her age. About half of Malawian girls marry before their 18th birthday and a third fall pregnant before the age of 19. In 2018, the estimated average adolescent birth rate globally was 44 births per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 years old. However, this rate in Malawi was significantly higher at 141. Forditor succumbed to an early pregnancy when she was in Form 2, then 17 years old in 2018. As a result, she dropped out of school and her parents wanted to marry her off. She challenged that arrangement and asked her parents to re-enroll her into secondary school education when she gives birth. Forditor’s request was granted. Against their own desires, her parents re-enrolled her and Forditor was back in class, learning. She wrote the high school leaving exams (MSCE) in 2021 but did not do very well. She alludes that performance to the pressures of early motherhood. She wasn’t done yet. She would give it a go, once more!
“Tailoring is a very good business and quite marketable….”
While she was thinking about rewriting the MSCE exams, her sister heard about TiH’s vocational training and encouraged her to join the program. She enrolled into tailoring and stayed at the campus for the duration of her course. She chose tailoring as she was intrigued by the opportunities that would come her way. “Tailoring is very good business and quite marketable as there are few tailors in my village and I see this as an opportunity to assist people with fashion and designing while earning an income through it,” Forditor says.
Motivated by her independent sister, who pays Forditor’s school fees, she wants to be independent therefore prefers running her own business to being employed.
Forditor has had her plans straightened out… “Tailoring is the course that I can manage to get trained in, that I can manage to set up my own tailoring business, as I can ably afford to source the start up tools in a short period of time”, she says.
Forditor graduated in September 2022 with a TEVETA certificate in Tailoring. Something was still missing, her heart craved for more! Soon after graduating, she then joined the solar course. Casting her net wide, one would say. As for her, she says that she saw how the persistent blackouts have been ruining businesses therefore encouraging her to seek other alternatives of energy for her yet to be established tailoring business. Boom! There was a solar course on campus. This was an industrial opportunity for her to tap into as she would buy electric sewing machines to run her business. Well calculated, she is. This was also another opportunity for her to serve her community and earn a living as well. All intertwined toward one goal for her, financial independence!
After finishing the tailoring course, she wanted to do farming in order to raise money to establish her own tailoring shop. A dream that she will embark to fulfill once she graduates from the solar trade. To her, the solar training will enable her to make sure that she has sufficient electric energy to run her business with no hiccups. And yes, she will be done when she gets good grades once she re-sits for the MSCE exams in the near future. Forditor dreams of a life full of financial freedom for herself, her kid, and her family.