Our Project Coordinator Bright Msuku recently sat down for a chat with Sylvia Banda, an inspiring woman from the Kapita region in Nothern Malawi.
How would you describe what it is you do now?
My name is Sylvia Banda, I am 47 years of age. I am a proud mother of 7 children four boys and three girls. I am currently a farmer, this is how my husband and I earn a living for our family. We have gradually expanded our farm and now grow crops on a large scale.
When you left school what job did you imagine you would be doing now? And if you didn’t end up doing it, why that may have been.
When I was a young girl doing my primary education, my dream was to become a medical doctor as I could see that my area was lacking such services. Many in our area would lose their lives because of diseases like malaria, hence my dream to become a doctor. But all this dream wasn’t to be as I lost my father just as I started secondary school and we lacked the funds to afford school fees. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to drop out of school.
What challenges did you face?
Due to the area where my parents migrated to here in Kapita, we have been very far from accessing good services and facilities. Especially in terms of access to good education for young girls. When I dropped out from high school, I was straight away forced to get married. My life is different from how I imagined it would be as a young girl. Here I am with seven children.
Who do you hope feels inspired by seeing what you have achieved, and why?
I think my husband is one of them! He can account for my growth in maturity and ability over our marriage. Being 19 when I got married, I had so much to learn. After a few years of marriage, we ventured into serious farming and we’ve done well. We make a good team. My husband and I have managed to send 4 of our children to secondary school but due to financial constraints, we have not managed to support them to proceed with a college education or vocational training. That said I am still proud to see them speaking English, a thing that I failed to accomplish. I feel my children are inspired by seeing what I am doing, big time farming and also working on a small scale business to support my family. My hope is that they seek out opportunities and do even better!
Thank you for sharing your life story with me.