< Triumph for Elena – Mamie Martin Fund

Triumph for Elena

Elena had a very difficult start in life. Thanks to a local pastor’s wife she was brought to Karonga Girls’ Secondary School in North Malawi in 2016. Passing the entrance exam, she was given a place at the school and was also awarded an MMF bursary. She was a shy and quiet child who looked neglected and much younger than her 16 years. It was wonderful to see her appearance and demeanour changing over the next four years and she became strong and cheerful. However, her father remarried and, during the summer holiday after Elena’s second year at school, her step-mother and brother tried to give her away in marriage. Child marriage, though unlawful, continues to be a real threat to children in rural areas in Malawi.

She escaped early marriage by running away back to school. She travelled alone for nearly 100 kms, asking strangers for help with transport, till she arrived at the home of the lady who had first rescued her. Her courage was rewarded and that become her home during school holidays. Sadly the lady passed away just after Elena finished school. The living situation then became unsafe for Esther who was brave enough to seek help.

Elena did not get grades good enough for university study but she secured a local college place to study for a Diploma. Well-wishers came forward and supported her with accommodation (essential for her safety at that point) and fees. After two years, Elena proudly sent MMF photos of her graduation with a Diploma in Professional Community Development with merit. Many young women in Malawi cope with hardships and barriers. Elena is a shining example of how courage, with some help, can overcome adversity and triumph.

We are proud to have played a part in Elena’s journey from being an undernourished, frightened child to being a confident, professional woman.