Tingathe Program Graduate Samuel Kalisto’s Life Transforms Through Green Entrepreneurship

If you are in Lilongwe and need beautiful flowers or tree seedlings for your home or community, head to Kanengo, near Salima turn-off. On the right-hand side, as you head towards Lumbadzi, you will find Samuel Kalisto. He is an alumnus of the Tingathe Vocational Training Programme (TTP). Samuel graduated with a specialization in Peri-urban Horticulture and has become well-known in Kanengo area for his business of growing and selling flowers. He grows and sells roses, marigolds, bougainvillea, fruit tree seedlings like mango and citrus, and shade tree seedlings such as jacaranda and flame trees.

We recently visited Samuel at his business place to see how our program has impacted his life and business. It was inspiring to hear how the skills he acquired during his training have boosted his business and increased his profits. “Before joining Tingathe, I didn’t know how to take care of my business. For example, I didn’t know how to make compost manure, which is essential for horticulture. Now, I can produce high-quality compost that enhances the growth and appearance of my plants, attracting more customers,” said Samuel.

The change in Samuel’s life and business is amazing. Initially, his earnings ranged between 50,000 to 100,000 Kwacha per month. Today, he makes over 400,000 Kwacha monthly, especially during peak seasons and special events. This enables him to support himself and his relatives. The entrepreneurial skills he gained at Tingathe have also been instrumental in effectively managing his business. Samuel proudly stated, “The skills I acquired at Tingathe have improved the quality of my flowers and tree seedlings. They have helped me understand how to take care of customers, manage my profits, and engage with people from diverse backgrounds, including prominent individuals, which was once beyond my reach. It brings me immense joy when customers stop by to purchase or admire my flowers. This positive reception fuels my optimism for the future of my business.”

One of the most exciting developments Samuel shared was his recent collaboration with a friend to expand his business to Salima district. This collaboration speaks volumes about the power of networking and teamwork, which are stressed in our training. “Recently, in April, I attended an alumni refresher training at Tingathe, which encouraged us to collaborate with like-minded people to expand our businesses. This motivated me to team up with my friend, who is experienced in grafting, to grow our ventures together,” Samuel explained.

Samuel is also committed to making Lilongwe City green and contributing to environmental conservation. Last rainy season, he sold over 2,000 trees to individuals and organizations involved in tree-planting initiatives “I am happy with my business because I am playing a part in making Lilongwe City and our country green,” Samuel remarked.

At Tingathe, we are happy to see our alumni like Samuel positively impact their communities and contribute to sustainable development. We encourage all our beneficiaries to engage in activities that promote environmental conservation, such as tree planting, to mitigate the effects of climate change caused by deforestation.

Our vocational training program has impacted our alumni by equipping them with practical skills in various trades, enhancing their employability, and fostering entrepreneurship. The aim is to build capacity among vulnerable youth to become change-makers in their communities.

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