I’m from Lilongwe, Malawi. I was born in a small town called Nkhoma. It’s a mission hospital that is also one of my favorite places in Malawi, actually. And so, growing up in Nkhoma is sort of like a quiet … it’s not rural, but it’s very quiet, it’s like a mission town.
My favorite memory is when my dad, my brother, and I moved to Dedza. We had these steps from our house to the boys’ quarter, the guest wing outside our house. And so, my dad and I would sit on there and listen, he had this little radio, so we would sit and listen to a radio there, so that’s one of my favorite memories growing up.
Currently, I mean, we are all in quarantine, so really currently [that is] what is going on, but I am a cofounder of a nonprofit called Loving Arms Malawi. It works with young people, especially in marginalized communities, in issues of education. We work with girls, we work with different kinds of people. Our sole purpose is just to promote education empowerment. We just want to promote education and just access to that. We want girls to stay in school. We want to mobilize communities in supporting girls’ education.
I learned about the Leadership Council from [GFC Partnerships Specialist] Lida [Minasyan], who was also an Atlas Corps Fellow. She worked as a consultant for GFC, so I learned from her about the Youth Leadership Council and I applied.
I wanted to be on the council because I believe that is part of the biggest level of influence I would have on the council. Working with the council is putting my voice to be heard. I think GFC has done well to create a platform where, as a council, we can create programming. As a council, we can decide how we work.
I see the work that GFC does, especially on the African continent, the support that they give to children’s organizations. Being on the council gives me the opportunity to contribute to the decisions about that. It is involvement in decision-making and presentation and things like that in a way that I wouldn’t have been involved [otherwise], so I was attracted by that to have a say to help others.
It wasn’t a toy … I don’t know if it was a toy, but I loved knitting, and my aunt still has it up until this day, she has not thrown it away. So, I had this big ball of yarn, it was blue, I remember, and the sticks that had white things at the end that I would [use to] knit. So, I would knit different things and my aunt up until this day keeps it and so every time she tells me that, “Oh, I’m still keeping your yarn if you want to come back for it.” So yeah, that’s my favorite thing. If it goes missing, I would lose my head and just be like, “Where is my yarn?” So yeah, that was my favorite toy growing up. I mean, I guess I was such a grandma at a young age.
I wanted to be an air hostess, a flight attendant, but we say air hostess because I think that’s the way the British say it. So, I wanted to be an air hostess because from what I saw they just looked so pretty and so well-made and so in my little head I believed, you know, for you to be a pretty woman you have to be an air hostess or maybe it was like, pretty women become air hostesses or whatever, so that was one thing that I really wanted to be. I could practice the whole walk. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to be an air hostess,” so I would practice the whole walk.
Look, I am Chewa, I am Malawian, I’m not going to call it weird, okay, but I know that other people might find it weird. But I do not want to be disowned by my people. The different thing that I have eaten is actually mice! It’s not weird, people, it’s mice. We call them mbewa, so yeah, I’ve eaten mbewa before, that’s like mice. Yes, it’s mice, not rats, it’s mice. So yeah, that’s something that is different that I’ve eaten that I actually like!
My pet peeve is people that can’t keep time. I am very … I’m an anxious person, and so when I have to do something, I keep time. I want it to be on time. I try to go to places early, and if you don’t keep time and don’t tell me … so if we’re scheduled to meet at 10 and if you don’t show up, just let me know, because chances are, I will show up earlier. I will show up 15 minutes early. I hate being late, and so my pet peeve is not telling me you’re late or just being late and just appearing like everything is okay. I’m always like, “Excuse me, can we talk about this first? Can we straighten this out?”
I wanted to say invisibility, but maybe not. I don’t know if having a lot of money is a superpower. So maybe I would go [with] invisibility, and then I’m not, don’t quote me on this, not that I would rob a bank, but if I’m invisible I can borrow some money from banks and use that money for good. So maybe let me go back to invisibility. If I could have any superpower, if being rich is a superpower, I would want to be rich, not for myself, but I have a big heart for people in marginalized communities and I think there’s a lot more work for us to do in those communities. For me, if I had access to that money, like if, you know, producing money was a superpower, I would choose that so that I can, I don’t know, help with infrastructures in marginalized communities, have schools that have good sanitation, and things like that. If not, then invisibility so I can borrow money from banks.
Well, thank you so much guys! My name is Sunga and it was great chatting up with you. Bye!
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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