Constance admits that when she started, she didn’t really know what Plan International focused on, but developed the passion to support women and girls while on the job.
“It brought me joy to see how education could open doors for women and girls. I personally pay school fees for several boys and girls. I come from a poor background. I didn’t have hope, and I didn’t know what would become of me. Despite the difficulties I faced, I still pursued education and it opened doors for me. I want to give others a chance so doors can open for them too,” she says.
Joining Plan International was as spontaneous as her passion for women and girls.
Constance says at that time, she was in college doing information communication technology (ICT), the then country director for Plan International Malawi, Michael Dimond came to her college looking for students who knew how to use computers.
She adds that in 1994, computers were a new thing in Malawi. Constance was picked and this is how her journey started.
This is a journey that ushered her to a vast experience in working with girls and women, serving Plan International is various capacities.
She beams: “My career has grown. I have risen the ladder from being a data entry clerk to the sponsorship manager. I have had the chance to travel widely— from Europe, to various countries in Africa.
“Working for Plan International gives one access to many opportunities, such as trainings, and meetings. It has helped me open up and change the way I see the world.”
Of course, Constance, while enjoying all that the organisation has enabled her to enjoy, she has aspects to it that are most rewarding
With the passion developed though her stint at Plan International, she personally pays pay fees for over 20 children.
“I want them to know that just because they are from a poor background; it doesn’t mean they will remain the same for the rest of their life. I am a typical example that things can change for you.
“I grew up in the village and I saw how women who weren’t given opportunities were being treated and how things can change for the girl child when she is educated. So it’s been rewarding to me to see the lives of those I’ve personally supported changing,” she says.
Staying in the same place is not easy and can become routine—26 years can seem a lifetime, but Constance says she has managed because she enjoys what she does.
For Constance, her job is a calling; “to help your people, your area and the less privileged. Meeting different people and sitting down to have a chat with them and helping them solve some of their issues is one of the things I enjoy about my work. I absolutely love what I do and that is why I am still working with Plan International Malawi.”
Many people, especially women and girls, should derive inspiration from, Constance. She is a typical example of resilience, patience and humility.
This woman from Nkoma Village, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kapeni, Blantyre has soared.
She is married and has three children; two boys and one girl.
She enjoys watching football and supports Chelsea. Locally, she is a big fan of the Malawi Queens.
Constance says she went to a local primary school in her village, Nkoma.
She adds that she continued with her schooling in Zambia up to Form Five.
“I came back to Malawi and did secretarial studies at Lilongwe Technical College. I worked as a receptionist for some months at a private school, then I did an ICT course at C&N Computing Services. This is when I was picked to start work at Plan International Malawi,” she says.
According to Constance, while working with Plan International Malawi, she went back to secondary school, and wrote the Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examination.
Thereafter, she was selected to the Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) where she obtained a degree in business administration.
She hopes to do a Masters in business administration in future.
Her advice to girls is that the best advice they can get is from their parents, not their peers.
She observes that most pieces of advice from peers will destroy them.
Constance adds: “Don’t look down on yourself. You can achieve your dreams. Work hard in whatever you do. Do not think that just because you are a girl, you will get favours to get by. Work hard for what you want. Anything is possible, as long as you put your heart into it.”
She says girls should not compare themselves with other people because: “You are unique. I can’t be Mary or Rose. I am Constance. I have to live true to who I am.”
Constance adds that no one is too old to achieve their goals.
“I was working, but I wasn’t shy to go back to school to prepare my future. If there are girls out there who made a wrong turn somewhere, it is never too late to turn your life around. Keep going,” she says.