Linvell – her family sold their only cows

Supported at school by the Mamie Martin Fund, Linvell’s family sold their cows to enable her to finish her degree.

Student nurse

Linvell Chirwa, born 1989, is the seventh born of eight children, her parents were subsistence farmers in the district of Mzimba in North Malawi. She attended Robert Laws secondary school in Embangweni but her parents did not have money for fees and so she was supported by the Mamie Martin Fund from the second term in Form 1 until she finished (2004-2007).

Three of Linvell’s sisters went to secondary school also but none of her brothers continued beyond Form 2 because their parents could not find money for the school fees. One of her sisters was supported by World Vision and all her sisters now work for the Malawian Government. Her brothers are subsistence farmers.

Photo on the left is of Linvell as a newly-qualified nurse/midwife in 2014.

Linvell studied nursing and midwifery at Kamuzu College of Nursing (University of Malawi) and graduated in 2012. She received a government loan for two of the four years there. After that loan stopped she struggled financially and her parents sold their only cows to allow her to complete her degree studies. There is a huge shortage of nurses in Malawi and she started work immediately and is now working as a Nursing Officer in charge of a maternity ward in Lilongwe, Mitundu Community Hospital. She has a staff house in the hospital where she lives with her husband and two children aged 5 and 2.

Eager now to further her studies, Linvell has been offered a place to start a Masters course at Kamuzu College of Nursing in September 2020 but she cannot take that place up without support to pay the fees. At present she is the breadwinner for her own family, her parents and other family members.

As well as helping members of her family, Linvell carries on the Mamie Martin Fund vision by supporting other girls with their education.

Interview with Linvell in 2016 by White Ribbon Alliance

Read the article about Linvell from the White Ribbon Alliance in 2016, where this video appears.