Former president Joyce Banda says she is worried with the social status of Malawians and that is why she has dedicated her life to fight for the oppressed as well as take up the cause of the disadvantaged.
She was speaking on Saturday at Robin’s Park in Blantyre during silver jubilee celebrations for the Joyce Banda Foundation (JBF), a charitable trust she founded in 1997.
Banda said over the years, she has built structures and created opportunities for people, especially women and the youth to improve their welfare.
“I am worried about our status as Malawians. Our children are suffering, our women are being abused and our grassroots people are locked up in abject poverty. So this [creating opportunities] is what I will do for the rest of my life,” she said.
The People’s Party (PP) leader also urged youths in the country to always be focused and take the lead to build a brighter future.
She urged them not to stop learning, but to always have confidence in whatever they do.
“I obtained my master’s degree when I was already married with children. So, do not undermine yourselves and do not allow anything to stand in your way,” said Banda, who was the guest of honour.
On her part, Deputy Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare Agnes Nkusa Nkhoma applauded Banda for her vision and dedication to empower the powerless through JBF.
She said: “The silver jubilee is not a mean achievement and that is why as a ministry, we celebrate with you. JBF is a brand that has benefitted not only Malawians, but even those beyond our borders.
“Talk of academic excellence, service to humanity, offering scholarships to needy students regardless of background, JBF has been the answer to many… JBF has also contributed greatly to this country’s socio-economic development.”
Speeches, performances and awards and gift presentations marked the silver jubilee celebrations of the foundation that also has international primary and secondary schools at Chimwankhunda in Blantyre.
During the event, the former president also launched a mentoring programme for young girls and donated 30 sewing machines to women doing informal businesses.
The machines were donated to JBF by the Chinese Government under the Women in Development Africa-Asia project where she is the chairperson
JBF was established as a tool to empower women and the youth at village level.