It Only Takes Determination

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Sometimes, life becomes hard in almost every aspect – no money, no clothes and not even the slightest idea of where the next meal will come from. This is what Loveness Jemusi went through for many years of her life.

Timidly posing for the camera but eager to share her story, Loveness from Kalombo Village in Mchinji district said she has been through a lot as a young girl growing up. These hard times forced Loveness and her siblings to do some piece work for their survival; and while she was in Standard 4, things got worse such that she dropped out of school. 

“Life was really tough, there was basically no money to feed us all. My parents, especially my mother toiled hard to cater for us, it was bad,” explained Loveness in a very low tone. For a moment there was silence. It was clear she had remembered what she went through. I waited for her to regain her composure, she did and our chat continued.

Photo caption: Loveness from the Youth in Action programme displaying some of her assorted vegetables.

Loveness’ breakthrough came in 2013. She excitedly explained how it all happened. “One day, Youth in Action partners and community leaders went round the villages telling us about this project and how it aimed at changing lives of young people that for one reason or another dropped out of school. I was so interested and luckily enough, I got selected into the programme,” she said.

Through a combination of education and entrepreneurial opportunities, the Youth in Action programmd, funded by the MasterCard Foundation, aims at improving the socio economic status of 9050 vulnerable Malawian youth between the ages of 15 and 18 and who are out of school. Youth are given the opportunity to select one of three pathways that are designed to help them thrive in their ambitions. Before embarking on their ‘my pathway’ journeys, youth are first taken through a series of trainings to orient them on the programme.

“I must say that after these trainings, I clearly defined what I wanted to do – I was extremely interested in Agribusiness.” Loveness conducted a market survey and found out there was a gap in supplying vegetables in her community which got her to be set on her choice. The 16 year-old now supplies vegetables in her community and through that she is able to take care of her two-month old baby.

“I buy clothes, soap, food and other necessities for my baby’s well being, and I am even planning to have my own garden where I can grow vegetables and sell them,” she said.  

Loveness was among the 2000 young people that graduated during a recent Youth in Action graduation ceremony that took place in Mchinji district, one of the districts where the project is being implemented in Malawi. The project which started in 2013 and ends in 2018 has so far selected 3833 youth to join the programme. 

When asked what advice she would give to other young dropouts, Loveness said, “Youth in Action is indeed a breakthrough in the lives of young people. They must show interest and work hard towards what they want to become… it only takes determination.”

Nomsa Taulo, Campaigns and Communications Officer