From a very young age, 23-year-old Faless Jeremiah felt a deep passion to want to help others, especially the less fortunate.
“I gave away many things to those I believed needed them more. In my final year at college, I applied for a seed grant to start a project of my choice. I thought of a venture to uplift the youth,” says Jeremiah.
Inspired by the powerful narrative by William Kamkwamba, the young boy who harnessed the wind, Jeremiah decided that inspiring the youth to dream of a brighter future was the way to go.
“God has placed in everybody an innate potential and capability, just like Kamkwamba. That potential has capacity to materialise no matter where one is coming from,” she points out.
Through the grant, Jeremiah started a youth empowerment and civic education programme. She established the Tsogolo Lathu Rhythm (TLR).
TLR advances career guidance to secondary school students.
“For instance, if one wants to be a doctor, they need to be very good in English, Mathematics, Biology and Physical Science, among others. And we explain the courses that are offered at all the universities in Malawi,” she says.
Apart from that, TLR partnered with an organisation called Educate Young Malawi. Together, they have paid tuition for needy girls under TLR scholarship.
“We have helped 11 girls at Chichiri Community Day Secondary School in Jali, Zomba who dropped out of school because they lacked school fees. We also provided different kinds of books to Namingadzi Secondary School in Zomba and awarded top performing students with notebooks, pens, pencils, mathematical instruments as incentives to keep them working hard,” she says.
Recently, she has also partnered her friend Deliwe Makata in another initiative called Women Inspire, to empower young women and girls in rural communities.
“Malawi has a lot of economic and social challenges and to that end, Women Inspire seeks to empower young women in areas such as personal development, hygiene and self-esteem.
“It also seeks to equip them with resources to attain a good education or return to school if they dropped out, and also equip them with business skills for self-sustenance,” she explains.
Jeremiah has launched a blog, The Column, creating a platform and a voice for young women stemming from all walks of life.
“The idea is to give them an opportunity to express their views, thoughts and ideas on issues of gender, politics, economics, health, entertainment and the law in efforts to uplift Malawian women as affective participants and actors in society,” she says.
As a student at Chancellor College, Jeremiah also volunteered for the Centre For Free Market Enterprise (CFME) which promotes entrepreneurship among Malawians.
Under CFME, she has headed a project which conducted a national inter-varsity debate to get the youth and college students in Malawi discuss the issue of youth and unemployment.
Under the same organisation, she formed part of the team that launched Zomba Entrepreneurship Pitch and an extension of the same in Blantyre and Lilongwe.
The young economist has plans to reach out to street children. She wants to develop a feeding and education programme geared at removing them from their current status in life.
Jeremiah says one of the major challenges she has faced in implementing Tsogolo Lathu Rhythm was dealing with people.
“People are not always going to share your vision, passion or drive. So, I have learnt that when you have an initiative, it is important to see it through with the right people, even if they are few helping you,” she says.
As she soldiers on in her quest to reach out to others, she is also geared at working on herself more and maintaining a positive image and character.
“I have a lot of people looking up to me, so, it is important to make it a priority to be a role model. But, essentially, my dream in life is to make Malawi a better place to live in.
“In the long run, I wish to build a foundation that will tackle issues of poverty eradication from different dimensions. But in the short-term, I will continue working on empowering Malawian women and developing a feeding and education programme for street children,” she says.
Jeremiah advises younger girls to work hard in school, emphasising that education is critical in the quest for better livelihood.
“As Malawian girls, let us dream, think big, aim to do and accomplish things that not everyone else can. Malawi is embedded with so much untapped potential. If we were given the opportunity to realise this potential, we have a greater capacity to move forward as a nation,” she says.
Born on February 5 1993, Jeremiah is the second-born in a family of two. Her elder sister is currently pursuing a medical degree in the United States.
She grew up in Lilongwe before moving back to Zomba where she lived with her family when she was born.
Jeremiah went to Bishop Mackenzie Primary School in Lilongwe where she also did part of her secondary education. She proceeded to Kamuzu Academy where she completed her A Levels.
She pursued the first two years of tertiary education in the United States at the University of Minnesota before returning home to complete her degree studies in Social Sciences, specialising in economics at Chancellor College in 2014.
She immediately jumped on board a master’s programme at the same institution in 2015, also in economics, which she is scheduled to complete in May 2017.
Jeremiah comes from Kandeu Village in Ntcheu.