Tingathe Vocational Training Programme Transforms the Life of Aida Makoka

“Being a woman is not something that should make one feel inferior or doubt herself that she can do what men do. The truth is that every woman is capable of becoming whatever she wants to become. When a woman is financially independent, she can easily take care of herself and avoid abuse that comes due to dependency.”

This is Aida Makoka, an alumna of the Tingathe Training Program. We had the privilege of visit her at her residence in Mlauzi Village in the area of Senior Chief Njewa in Lilongwe on February 6, 2024, as part of our ongoing alumni engagement initiatives aimed at expanding support for graduates of the Tingathe Training Program.

Aida completed her studies in Carpentry and Joinery in 2018. It was encouraging to see her thriving in her business, especially considering our previous visit five years ago when she had just established her workshop. Aida was one of the alumni who benefited from our Mitchana ya Geni alumni support program, which gave alumni start-up loans for them to start businesses. She used this loan to buy equipment for carpentry and joinery, and she opened a workshop. Before joining Tingathe, she faced many social economic challenges such as poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment, which affected her life negatively as a youth.

The workshop has been of great help to Aida because through the money she gets from the business, she uses it to support herself, family, pay school fees for her brother and her relatives in her home village. Additionally, she has purchased land where she wants to build her own home, and every year, she allocates earnings from her business to purchase farm inputs for agricultural activities. Because of this, her home is food secure throughout the year and she is helping the country to achieve its goals, such as the overarching Agenda 2063, which the Malawian government desires and resolves to be an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation.

At her workshop, Aida makes various items including panel doors, coffee sets, dining sets, display cabinets, TV stands, sofa sets, beds, and door frames, among others. During our visit, we observed her selling a panel door for MWK150, 000 and door frames priced at MWK20, 000 each. As Tingathe, we are excited about Aida’s success as she is no longer a starving young woman. She has a job and provides essential services to her community. Her ability to independently sustain herself, support her family, engage in agricultural activities and contribute to her community’s development represents the aspirations outlined in Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, which seek to eradicate poverty and hunger while enhancing food security and nutrition.

We are happy that we made a change maker. We are motivated to continue our efforts to improve the lives of young people in peri-urban communities because we recognize them as potential job creators and the ones to address the issues of poverty and unemployment that have affected our country.

This is why we are calling for partnerships with organizations, companies, and individuals willing to support our cause. With their resources, we aim to expand vocational training opportunities for young people, supporting Sustainable Development Goal 17, which stresses the importance of multistakeholder partnerships to mobilize knowledge, expertise, and financial resources for development goals.

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