Leaving a mark in my community-Trintance Nagogoda-Malawi

Being a leader is not just a position but knowing who you are is real leadership. My poor background did not stop me to become the person l wanted to be. It actually motivated me to become a better person. When l am talking to young people, l feel like a role model and that taught me that in life, one can be whatever he/she wants to be. I have this passion to change Africa, and l believe one day l can!

After my graduation as a young women leader who had received leadership training from SAfAIDS in 2013, we started a bridal boutique which never worked well. We then shared our money to start individual businesses. l used my share to set up a cosmetic business which is up to now running well. I attribute this to the discipline and determination that SAfAIDS instilled in us, and the financial support which enabled us to start our initiatives. When I attended the training, I had done IT studies, and was able to apply for advanced diploma in IT because I was financially empowered.

The training encompassed leadership, advocacy and activism, enabling me to get a job as a computer programmer despite my specialization in computer networking. My colleagues at work admired my competence, confidence and determination which l attribute to the SAfAIDS leadership academy.

I have conducted trainings in Blantyre rural community on sexual health where most young women are getting married with fishermen in order to earn a living. I believe there is more to life for young women than early marriage. When l am empowering them, they listen because the charisma of a good leader draws people’s attention and transforms them.

In 2014, l met one of the young women who was forced to get married after her completion of primary education. Because her mother did not have money for her to proceed, they wanted to marry her off. I visited the family and engaged her mother, in the process convincing and enlightening her on the benefits of educating a girl child. I offered to assist by paying her school fees; and I am proud to say that the girl is now doing her secondary education. .

It is not easy approaching people to discuss issues of sexuality; as others will resist but as a leader I am always resilient and keep on pursuing my goals. Coming from a poor background was not a hindrance to discover my own skills and capabilities. I made it a stepping stone to achieve more in life-You can too!