I got a chance to do this feature with Angela Nkata who is the founder of Tiwerenge Foundation. She is another Driven Citizen that is a hard worker and an inspiration. I thought I would share in hopes that this also inspires and encourages others out there to aim high and never give up on your dreams.
Driven Citizen: What is Tiwerenge Foundation all about and when was is founded?
Angela: Tiwerenge Foundation is simply a small organization that aims to provide access to books, both text books and library books for those schools in Malawi that do not easily have access to those books.
The idea was born in 2011 during my Masters year. It came out from a discussion with a friend of mine Faith Chitawo who was talking about a mobile library.The idea was later formed and the organization was born in October 2011 and the organization was registered as a trust in January 2012 and we are working on getting registered with CONGOMA (The body for all NGOs in Malawi) as an NGO
Driven Citizen: What inspired you to create this organization?
Angela: The organization was inspired by our love and passion for reading.
It also came as a result of wanting to promote reading culture in Malawi. Reading culture and literacy in Malawi is low and yet reading is a very key and important aspect of life and learning. We also believe that as young Malawians we should be agents for positive change to our society.
Driven Citizen: What are some of the challenges you may have faced to get where you are with the Foundation and how did you overcome those challenges?
Angela: As you have rightly put it, everything in life comes with challenges.
Some of these key challenges include ensuring sustainability of the programme. This is not to say that books and material like such cannot be available, it is whether the schools we are targeting are able to use these books to their benefits without incentives from the foundation. This is a part which must be played by students and especially teachers alike.
Measuring the impact of the foundation can also prove tricky. How does one measure literacy levels across the board as objectively and reflective of the true picture as possible. How does one measure other ripple effects that Tiwerenge Foundation would hope to achieve in its objectives such as has reading improved my ability to perform better in class and/or exams. For instance subjects such as creative writing; English Language and Literature.
Driven Citizen: What projects are you currently working on for Tiwerenge?
Angela: Currently Tiwerenge Foundation is working with the school on essay writing competitions, spelling bees, career talks and Reading sessions where students get a chance to read and discuss the book. These are all part of giving life to the foundation’s work, aims and objectives.
Driven Citizen: What are your future plans for Tiwerenge?
Angela: As Tiwerenge grows we would like to expand to different schools and have lasting impact via the books and the different programmes we do. We would like to explore building library facilities for the school whether there be an actual library or in class shelves that can serve as ‘libraries’. We would also like to expand with cutting edge and new technology and experiment with things such as documentary screening and use of kindles.
Driven Citizen: What keeps you motivated?
Angela: Seeing the difference we are making, even if it is a small difference. Seeing that we are part of positive change and growth.
Driven Citizen: How can we find more information on the Organization? Donate etc
Angela: As we continue to grow, we are keen to get information out to people. We do this via different mediums, we have a website www.tiwerengefoundation.org as well as a facebook page, if you type in Tiwerenge Foundation on facebook it will immediately take you to the page. You can follow us on Twitter @Tiwerenge Foundation.
Driven Citizen: What advice would you give to other young people trying to accomplish their dreams?
Angela: If you can dream it, then you can achieve it, so dream it then wake up and start making it happen. There are inevitably always going to be challenges, but don’t allow any of the knocks to bring you down permanently. Use each challenge as a building block to become better at achieving your dreams.
Driven Citizen: Outside of work and Tiwerenge, what are your hobbies? How do you spend your free time?
Angela: I will put Reading first! (for obvious reasons lol). I also enjoy writing, running, and travelling.
Thank you so much for your time Angela. We wish you nothing but greatness in your future endeavors and keep working hard!
Go Beyond the Sky!