Auleria Kadyampakeni: Building a school to give back to her community

In a society where there are various challenges lowering the socio-economic development status, people tend to leave everything in the hands of relevant authorities to make a change.

On their own, the citizenry have deemed it as work of authorities to strive for a better society, one with less challenges and providing endless opportunities.

Some of the village leaders Kadyampakeni works with

Education has been the centre of attention for quite some time as people in most remote areas have had difficulties in accessing quality education, a situation that has led to high levels of illiteracy in the country.

For Auleria Kadyampakeni, education must be accessed by everyone, everywhere despite some challenges that present themselves in a struggling society.

Born on January 8 1983, Kadyampakeni is building a school using her personal savings as one way of helping her community access quality education at Kauye Village, Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza.

“I mobilised traditional leaders in my area and agreed to solve problems the community is facing one by one. And the village development committee (VDC) prioritised the early childhood development (ECD) construction so that children should love education at a very young age. So, I am doing this as a way to giving back to my community,” she says.

The seventh born in a family of eight—three girls and five boys—Auleria attended her primary school at St Joseph Demonstration Primary School where she was selected to Ludzi Girls Secondary School.

She repeated her Form Four at Likuni Girls Secondary School, where she made it to the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College (Chanco) to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

After graduating in 2010, she worked as a secondary school teacher for three years. She then joined the National Association for People living with HIV and Aids in Malawi (Napham), where she worked as district coordinator for two years.

From Napham, she worked as a community mobilisation coordinator for the Malawi Population-Based HIV Impact Assessment (MPHIA) survey, which was implemented by Centre for Social Research.

“Currently, I am working as a volunteer in my community, addressing various challenges. I have a great passion for women, girls, children and the youth,” she explains.

The 34-year-old says despite growing up as a village girl, her parents, who are retired primary school teachers, ensured that they all got the best education.

“My parents instilled in us good morals. They were strict disciplinarians and helped to shape us into what we are today. I have also learnt to have a spirit of sharing from my family in spite of whatever little one has,” she says.

Auleria says her parents emphasised that it does not require riches to make an impact in people’s lives.

“If you do not have money, then render your services. In addition, our parents taught us to be humble to everyone irrespective of differences in social status,” she says.

She adds that while growing up, she was also trained in extensive agricultural and domestic activities.

She says while growing up, she was not exposed to many professions unlike in the present time.

“All I knew was teaching and health work so, I wanted to become a lecturer at St. Joseph Teachers Training College (TTC). That was the best profession I knew then,” she says.

Auleria says her passion for uplifting communities through different initiatives is what has kept her going and is optimistic about making positive impacts in people’s lives.

“Let me confess that much as Bembeke is a famous area, we are very behind. Having worked in a number of districts, I observed that other districts have been so much blessed with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which have built plenty of ECDs. Even in Ntchisi, which is regarded as one of the remotest districts, you will find ECDs almost after every 10 kilometres,” she says.

She says having worked in the district with Napham, she wondered why her area does not have such interventions, let alone the area being famous of supplying child labour to cities and towns.

“So, after my contract expired in August last year, I resolved not to get formal employment before I volunteered in my community. I knew that if I waited for organisations to change our lives, we would get nowhere. So, I decided to be the change that I had ever wanted to be,” she explains.

She joyously says working in her own community is a satisfying experience, despite challenges.

“Challenges are inevitable. The main challenge I have encountered throughout is people’s high expectations. Although I made it clear that I am using my own personal savings, they assume an organisation is behind the project. The only free thing was their participation in moulding the bricks,” she says.

She further says the Group Village Headman and the nearest primary school has supported her by providing trees for the project while she paid for the rest of the services.

“As if that is not enough, my own village was the most uncooperative among thirteen other villages. They thought they would enrich me and never appreciated the fact that it is for the benefit of the community,” she says.

Auleria says she has been highly motivated by the satisfaction she gets from working with her own people.

She says despite getting well-paying jobs all along, she has never had the satisfaction that she is having now.

She says nothing beats the feeling of seeing the livelihoods of your own people improving, moving from negative to positive.

“Just the thought of having English speaking preschool children in my community keeps me going and how well the community responded to my call for their support gives me a reason to go an extra mile,” she says.

According to Auleria, if all goes according plan, classes are set to commence next school term once the project ends by the end of March this year.

She says there have gone into agreements with the GVH to pass by-laws which will make sure parents send their children to school.

“We believe if a child attends school at the age of three, she will grow with a strong passion for education, hence, advancing with their education,” she explains.

She further explains that when school starts, there will obviously engage in new projects either addressing the youth or women so that they curb numerous challenges that they face.

The passionate single mother of one says she is also inspired by her fifteen-year-old son, Emmanuel, whom she loves spending much of her time with.

She says her son is very supportive of her and likes it when she helps vulnerable groups of people.

“He even identifies some at his institution and asks me if I would support them too. He would rather choose to have little pocket money to buy extra groceries for a needy friend. And in this era, to have a son with such manners is very rare. I thank God for him,” she says.

She says her wish is to also empower her fellow women in the villages.

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