Meet Grace Ghambi; A Malawian Lady Championing Educational Change in her Community.

She noticed that the gap between theory and practice in the educational system in her community was rendering youths,especially school girls passive and decided to provide a solution.At just 20,this student dedicates her time and uses her pocket  money to run a program she initiated;Focus,Action and Results(FAR) to fill this educational gap.Recently,she reached out to us to tell us why government,civil society,companies and people in general should donate or support her initiative and we sought to find out who she is and what her project is about.

Let’s meet her.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Grace Ghambi. I am a student at the Malawi Polytechnic University studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering. I am 20 years old, born in a family of six. I am a kind , hard-working lady. As a student, I have done the following projects; drone, traction system which was later implemented at Queen’s hospital in Malawi and the Tesla project which includes wireless electricity. Also, I have been running the position of class representative for three years now. In 2017, I was voted to be the Vice President of the Polytechnic Association of Female Engineers (PAFE). I easily make friends.

Tell us more about your program, Focus, Action and Result (FAR).

This program is divided into three parts. Focus, Action and Result

-Focus is for the motivation of students. I believe everyone has a destiny and it’s everyone’s duty to find out what it is. Here, FAR helps the students to be determined by staying on track and knowing their purpose. When the student becomes willing, that’s when they go to the next step which is called Action.

-Action is aimed at enabling the students realize their dreams. With the help of  professional programs like the Polytechnic design studio, Project drone team, macro Mek, WomEng and PAFE  which can guide them as they focus on their ideas, students are helped based on the professions they seek. Also, every student is introduced to the idea of entrepreneurship. When the students are certain about what to do and how to do it, we allow them to explore opportunities around the world.

-Results: In this phase, the students are not only realizing their dreams but trying to give back to society. They are volunteering and they are helping others to successfully go through the three stages.

So far, we have visited the following schools; Think big Elementary School, Chankhanga Primary school, Chankhanga secondary School, Chayamba secondary school, Kasungu secondary school, Kasungu CCA secondary school,FAITH  primary and secondary school, BOMA secondary school,Top HILL primary and secondary school, Loyola Jesuit Secondary school,Kaphaizi Primary school,Jejire Primary school to sell this initiative.

What motivated you to delve into the Program?

I observed that students, especially the female students are rather passive while schooling in my community. Most girls just want to finish school and get a job. So I initiated the program to encourage these students to not just focus on passing exams and earning degrees when they go to university but to find something practical and fulfilling to do. One day I hope to see a tech-innovative Malawi, where factories and great inventions can thrive.

Also, I live in Kasungu, a rural area where most people lack interest in school. I help students improve their mathematics and I managed to help a student climb from the worst to the best student in his class. I found motivation when I realized that with determination, we can all expand our horizons and secure a better future. It is true, that there are no limits, limitations only exist in the mind.

List some of the activities you do within the frame work of your project.

We Volunteers and in our volunteering, teamwork is strongly encouraged. We are a family of youths trying to serve our community and we encourage other youths to do so. During our outreaches,we advocate for Focus,Action and Results.

We donate. Volunteers need transportation, water sometimes even lunch.So someone has to provide for their needs. Sometimes, when the schools are far from town like Kaphaizi Primary School, Chaphaso Secondary school and others , we use personal money to cater for that. This helps to reach a wide range of students.

We mentor: We provide general mentoring,motivational speaking and coaching as well as one on one mentoring with the students just after the meeting and every month. We provide our contact after the presentation so that the students can contact us when ever they need help.

How has the public or government reacted to the program?

So far, the public is very excited about the program. Each time I meet the parents of the students I have coached,I am marveled at the gratitude poured upon me. They tell me their children change for the better after coaching sessions. This also motivates me more, knowing that my program is accepted by the society. In addition, teachers have been contacting me on how their students have improved academically. They express hope that, since our targets are girls, more girls would be selected to the university with the help of this program.

The government on its part has so far been unreachable. But we believe that if the civil servants welcomed this program, government would probably welcome it as well.

What challenges have you faced?

Students have different receptive capacities. Some students understand us right away while others take a longer time to understand if they do at all. This is the reason why we introduced one on one mentoring. But we are faced with shortage of volunteers in this area.

Moreover, some schools are far away from town. So when we visit, it is hard for us to go again to have one on one mentorship with them because we cannot afford transport.

As students, it is difficult to reach more students during school time given that we have our own academic life and we have to act as role models by earning high grades. It is mostly during vacation that we can be able to reach out to schools near and far from us.

 

What keeps you going?

I really appreciate the support parents and teachers have been giving me lately. Not forgetting the testimonies I get from the students, as well as their willingness to learn. Together we can and we will accomplish something bigger. As I always say, they are no limitations.

As my mother always says, imagine if you were born in that poorest family and no one gives  a hand to support you. Well, I get in their shoes, I see myself living a remote life not by choice,I see someone struggling not by choice. Only for someone to help them. That’s why we help. in short ;WE ARE ABLE TO HELP.

What fulfills you most in this program?

I find fulfillment in the fact that this program makes people happy. I hope that one day Malawi would be one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world.

How do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 2024, I see myself expanding my scope to reach out to the aged as well as children under 5. I will work my heart out until ignorance is history in Malawi. By 2028, I hope to extend our branches to other countries in Africa who may face the same problem as my community in Malawi because then we will have reached out to everyone in the country.

I see more volunteers trained by FAR .I see them use the knowledge to work on something positively tangible. Most especially, I see students giving back to their community and making Malawi one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world. We can get there only if we think we can.

What are your hobbies?

I love to make friends,

I play volleyball

I jog

I love reading inspiration books.

For more information check out the blog:, focusandaction67.wordpress.com.

 

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