Meet a scholar: Comfort Menard Mkalira, Malawi

IMG_20171223_171220Hello my name is Comfort Menard Mkalira from Malawi. I am 22 years old and I am currently studying mining engineering at the University of Malawi, the Polytechnic. As a Malawian citizen I have great hopes for the future, especially, in developing my community as well as my country at large.

Upon completion of my bachelor degree programme at the University of Malawi, I would like to establish an organization in my community called ‘Reach out and Touch’. The aim of this organization will be to encourage the youths, especially girls, to remain in school. This is because I am so concerned with the higher drop rate of girls in both primary and secondary school (70%), compared to boys (40%). A great number of these boys and girls are between the ages of 12 and 24. The organization will also work to teach the community how best to use the available resources in our community such as fertile soils and fresh water for agriculture. In a holistic way, the organisation will also provide support to marginalised people, like the elderly, widows and orphans, by building comfortable free housing for them. They will be provided with food, and be defended when they are faced with oppression, exploitation and injustice.

In Malawi a good number of patients sleep on the floor in public hospital due to inadequate beds. This exposes them to other diseases like whooping cough. My ambition after completing my degree is to donate to some of the affected public hospitals. I would also like to establish primary and secondary schools where fees shall be fairly low, so that it can be easier for children from poorer families to access better quality education.

I have many other ideas too, like to visit prisoners and also to donate to help set up a local ambulance service in my area (there is no ambulance at Nyungwe Health Centre at the moment).  I wish there could be an ambulance service so that patients (particularly pregnant women) can be carried to the local health centre in good time. Currently, about 60% of those patients die because they are in need of a referral and they don’t have an ambulance.

My community is Wovwe, found in Kanyuka village, tradition authority; Mwilang’ombe , Karonga district, in the northern region of Malawi. The Watipa scholarship is of great help to me as an individual. It is also a help to my community as well, as my nation Malawi. As an individual I’m going to use my scholarship to pay for tuition fees, rentals at the university, transport, food at the university, and also buy study materials such as books. All this will help me focus on my studies so that I pass well and get a well paying job. By supporting me, a young person with a vision, the scholarship shall help my community and Malawi as a nation to grow. Thanks to Watipa for giving me a scholarship which will enable my hopes and dreams really come to pass.

Comfort Menard Mkalira and Morgane Bedos Snaith

Comfort Menard Mkalira was awarded a Watipa scholarship in December 2017 to support his studies in Mining Engineering, and the University of Malawi Polytechnic.

Morgane Bedos Snaith is a work experience student with Watipa, who is 14 years old, and studying at Stoke Newington Secondary School, UK.

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