Growing up

Growing up

Bid for a better life: Ambition and enterprise

What young people want to be when they leave school in Malawi isn’t much different from what young people want to be the world over.

Dumbo Jonasi talks about his dream of becoming a manager, working in an office. But Dumbo – one of six children in his family – says that school isn’t going so well for him right now. His problem is that he doesn’t have soap to wash his clothes for school. He has to do a job alongside school to earn money so that he can buy soap.

Most of Malawi’s young people live in a rural community, as Dumbo does, where agriculture is the mainstay, and where both fathers and sons have traditionally scraped a living. But for many ambitious and enterprising young people of Malawi today, a move into the Malawian cities, or even abroad, is within their sights.

Thirst for the opportunity

Sometimes their ambitions have been stoked by the internet. In a country where electricity supplies are intermittent at best, and personal computers at school are shared between many, access to the internet is still an exception rather than commonplace. But when they do get the chance to go online, young people are thirsty for the opportunity to look beyond their local boundaries and their aspirations grow.

Escape route

One youngster knew all about the US rock scene and wanted to marry a European and live in a more developed world. She sees a world of luxuries and wants that life for herself.

Others want to stay at home and be part of improving life in their own country particularly when it comes to the conservation of Malawi’s natural beauty.