My name is Grace Lusangwe Ghambi, I am studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering (Hons) at The Malawi Polytechnic (Year 5) .
I have always been the noisy one. Until I went to the Polytechnic where I actually understood more about life (myself).
Like most students, coming from a government secondary school I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I was not bothered because I had no idea what could become of me. I then met a couple of friends in college who really helped me to understand something. Remember, I was the noisy one.
By then, we were staying in Kasungu and each time I go home, I would meet girls who would be so interested in me and what I do. Honestly *I used to like hearing people say,” Look at her, she is an Engineer*. But I had no idea what I would do as an Engineer.
Life started to happen. In my second year, I am glad I had friends who believed in me, even when I could not. I started selling cloths, socks, going door to door on campus hostels.
In 2018, I founded Focus Action Results (FAR). For the first time in my life, I had a big idea of what this would become. By then, I had a very low average from first year “I think it was 58%”. Unfortunately for me, this was also the year ESCOM picked girls for scholarships on merit. So I missed that first year. With help from friends I was encouraged to work extra hard to get on the scholarship, I really needed it. I didn’t want my parents to have the pressure of finding tuition.
With God’s grace, I was later considered for the scholarship.
It has been around the same times since FAR started its operations. We had not gotten any funding and I used my personal pocket money to fund the organisation, it was not easy, I went broke. In fact, I was not just broke, I had debts.
In 2018, I was going to attend a summit in Ghana, I only had air ticket and had to source money on my own, after asking from relatives and friends I was unfortunate, but I still had to go, so I borrowed money again. However, this summit really shaped me to understanding more on Sustainable Development Goals.
I then met a friend from Zambia who helped me financially (she is an angel) as well as my fellow Malawian. I was broke but just happy because of the people surround myself with.
I came back to Malawi, I had to pay back the loans. So I used all of my pocket money to pay debt and sell mandasi(flitters) on campus – going from one room to another.
After sometime, I think in 2019, I gave up on my dreams. But I said okay before I do “let me try to reach out to this lady”. Little did I know that it was the beginning of a new project.
We worked together for some few months. It was an amazing moment working with this English lady. Unfortunately she left.
Thank God for the scholarship where I work during holidays to keep up with FAR.
“By now, you understand that I am graced”
During this time, I was also transitioning from noisy to less talking.
With FAR activities and moving travelling outside the country, I would sometimes miss classes for one month, denied to write assignments by lecturers etc…. And somehow managed to get the merit Base scholarship. *I think I have been so close to God’s heart than I actually think Now.*
I also then founded a group in 2019, called Pamodzi Savings Group (PsG) where we save money every month to be shared at the end of year of operation. 2020 is our second year. This project targeted young people and it has really improved their saving skills as well as myself on a large scale.
By this time 2019, (end) we had reached out to alot of schools in central and southern region. Inspiring more than 60,000 young people with every chance we got.
Some of the students that got motivated or trained with some FAR skills are walking in the corridors of the University of Malawi.
FAR then started receiving opportunities to work with other organizations on paid basis. This is how we have kept up with the organisation.
At work, I also started to get recognised. More opportunities started to appear, working close to the managers gave me courage that I can do it. During one of the ESCOM meetings, I met the CEO for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) – who reports directly to US senate, He saw something in me, I am not even sure what, I believe someday I would. As busy as he gets, he will always reply my emails in time. He has really encouraged me (through his team he introduced me to). To this I will forever be grateful.
With every money I get, I make sure I channel some to the organisation. This year I was privileged to work on different projects which mostly were challenged to FAR.
I can’t not complete my story without mentioning how amazing God has been in my life – He has given me opportunities even when I was reluctant.
My life has had its fair share of failures but I rather call them lessons. Like they say, sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. I have applied for YALI for 3 years and have never made it through. I have applied for the Pollination Project to have funding for the organisation I own but wasn’t successful either. When I applied for RICE university scholarship, I didn’t make it through. There are a lot of applications that I have made but never made it through.Infact, we still have never gotten any funding for FAR. I kept asking myself where I went wrong with my applications but all this helped me to become better. There are more lessons in failure than successes in life. These moments feel like they will crush you but don’t give up, get the lessons and rise.
I can not complete this *part* of my story without mentioning my mother, she has been the greatest support in my life, when Everyone says “Tatopa” she says I will not give up on you.
Let me take this opportunity to thank Uncle Chandie, friends, classmates and Family.
Sometimes I feel like I have no idea of what is going on, but this keep me going because know there is room for growth. I usually just start. This has helped me alot, as someone who has heard the word “broke” so much from this story – I encourage you to keep going. One day you will realise you have accomplished more than you ever imagined.
For a young “girl”, I have embarked on a project to build a house in Lilongwe – It seems a huge task but I know it will be finished with God’s help.
I am encouraged by these words ” be still and know, that I am God” Psalm 46:10
This might not be a successful story, but it is a fulfilled story