Case Story - Brenda Lita
Brenda Lita is a 24-year-old girl from Mphedzu village, Traditional Authority Bvumbwe in Thyolo district. She is an orphan staying with her younger brother. Brenda’s mother passed away when she was very young and her father died in 2007. The two stayed with their grandparents after the demise of their father in the year 2007 before moving on to the house left by their parents.
She first sat for the Malawi School Certificate of Education in 2014 and failed the exams. She went on to repeat in 2016 and did better. Brenda ventured into small scale businesses of selling charcoal and doughnuts to keep ends meet before she was identified by the chiefs to pursue a course in tailoring at DAPP’s Amalika Teacher Training Colleges (TTC).
Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) trains youth in different vocational skills, one of which is tailoring. Students are taught on-campus at Mikolongwe Vocational School, through mobile and satellite learning. Under the satellite program, students are trained in tailoring within DAPP’s TTC premises of Amalika in Thyolo, Chilangoma in Blantyre, Dowa and Mzimba.
Brenda is a 2017 graduate from the satellite tailoring course. She was given start-up materials together with her two colleagues, Rose Kathumba and Emily Maganga. Graduates are given startup materials which include a sewing machine and other small materials in groups of three termed TRIOs. The machine is kept at Brenda’s home where Rose sometimes did show up, Emily no longer did.
Brenda is a single lady who craves not to marry soon. She is a passionate young lady who believes in women empowerment and does not want to be overly dependent on men. She says she wants to be helping her husband financially when she gets married at home rather than relying on her husband for everything.
Brenda started applying her trade in March 2018 after receiving the startup materials. Six months down the line, she was earning an average of 40,000 Malawi Kwacha (50 Euros) a month. She is able to eat, pay school fees for her younger brother from the proceeds of tailoring. She has also managed to repair their house left by their parents where they are now staying. Apart from tailoring, Brenda also rears goats she benefited from the Malawi Government’s pass on project. She is also involved in subsistence farming on a piece of land left by her parents.
Her two immediate future plans are to move on to a shop along the road for easy visibility and buy her own sewing machine.. She would want to be independent as well in the business for easy accountability of the funds and have full time control of the machine.
Brenda is very grateful to DAPP for the skills gained and the start-up materials given enabling her to straightaway venture into business/entrepreneurship.