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Chmba- malawi

Chmba is an entrepreneur from Malawi and the Director of the social enterprise Tiwale, which she founded to help women and girls in her community escape poverty and child marriage with microfinance and education programmes.

In Malawi, only six percent of girls graduate from high school each year, with just 2.9 percent going on to seek post-secondary education studies. Child marriage is still a prominent cultural practice, with more than 40 percent of girls married by the time they are 18. The attendance of young women aged 12 was discouraged by families who believed they should get married as opposed to educated.

In 2012 Chmba met a young mother of three who expressed an interest in starting a business. She told the woman to find nine others who shared this sentiment. At the following meeting, a line of 150 women interested in microfinance awaited to hear more. Chmba then galvanised young Malawians who had studied business to help deliver the training and with the village chief and his wife on board came the establishment of Tiwale.

To date, 250 women have been through the organisation’s microfinance programme. 40 have started a business, 66 have gone through their secondary education class, six have won scholarships to go back to school, 60 women currently work in the tie dye workshops fashion designing or sewing. This year the first woman to graduate from secondary school are heading to university. Using money from selling tie dye fabrics, they were also able to build a women's center in 2017.

“Women we work with grow up being taught from age 12 they will be married and live a life answering to their husbands. We teach these girls they can have dreams, ambitions and futures. They are not just another statistic.”

She was named Glamour Magazine’s College Woman of the Year, Forbes’ Africa 30 Under 30, Ashoka Future Forward Winner, Gates Foundation Goalkeeper, Global Citizen Youth Advocate, One Young World Ambassador, Commonwealth Awardee for Excellence in Development and Powell Emerging Leader.


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