From engineering student to Member of Parliament! The ambitions of a scholar: Comfort Menard Mkalira, Malawi

IMG_20180329_081018“To be an engineer has been my dream since primary school.”

I am Comfort Menard Mkalira, 22 years old. I am studying electronics and telecommunications engineering at the University of Malawi, the Polytechnic. I am in year one of my five-year study program.

To be an engineer has been my dream since primary school. With the expertise I get as an electronics and telecommunications engineer, I would like to improve the network system in my community, and Malawi as my beloved country. Generally, there is poor network in my community, (particularly Wovwe) because we have to move up and down in search of network when we need just to make a call.

Though I come from one of the poorest families in Malawi, I still hope to be an agent to bring transformation in my life and become active in developing my family and community. As a Malawian citizen, I have great hopes for the future, in developing my community as well as my country at large. I talked about these in my previous blog, where I described how I would like to establish an organisation in my community entitled, ‘Reach out and Touch’. On a personal level, I would like to support my family (particularly, my poor 82-year-old grandmother, 3 little sisters and 3 little brothers who currently have no one to assist them). It always breaks my heart into tears when I see my fellow poor and speechless Malawians being oppressed and exploited by those in power. In line with this, I would also like to stand for these people in Malawi as a member of Parliament where most of the decisions affecting Malawians’ welfare are made.

I feel my hope to be an engineer has come, and I am always grateful to Watipa to come to my rescue. However, as a student looking forward towards fulfilling my hopes for the future, I still have some worries. From my observations, most engineering students in Malawi spend a long time trying to find employment after graduation which makes their dreams take a long time to come to fulfilment. I am currently seeking advice from the Watipa team in how to build links between universities offering engineering courses and the few companies in Malawi where electronics and telecommunications engineering students can be exposed to the practical experiences of this study. This will help students show off relevant skills on their CV/resume after graduation and assist with their career development.

I am very grateful to Watipa for coming to assist me during my needy time of my university education. I am also grateful to these role models, including an engineering PhD and my mother Lucy in the Watipa family, for the effort and time they have dedicated to inspire me.

I do not take all these for granted and wish everyone a happy World Skills Day on the 15th July!

Comfort Menard Maklira, Watipa Scholar 2017, Malawi

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