“Financial literacy is key for women to thrive economically and make sound decisions for their families.
“It is impossible in this century to operate at a level of excellence without sound financial knowledge,” says Sarah Lindeire.
She is the founder of Tingathe, a local organisation that works with vulnerable, out of school youth, aged between 18-30 years in peri-urban areas.
Established in 2016, 360 youths have graduated from Tingathe skills training programme and about 33 women graduated in Azimayi Tingathe Geni, a financial literacy women empowerment programme.
Women have since time immemorial been barred from accessing knowledge and information to thrive and not just survive in the business environment.
Sarah explains that some enter the business arena without sufficient knowledge and support system.
She says when they do not succeed as they had hoped; the patriarchy attributes this failure to their sex and not to the many environmental and social hindrances women face.
She adds that when a woman is equipped with this knowledge, her eyes open to a universe of opportunity and acquires the skills and knowledge to do things that put resources in her pocket and assets in her name.
“Malawi is among countries that lack inclusive growth and women’s financial literacy is vital to the nation’s inclusive growth, which begins at family level and the community.
“Our women are behind in terms of financial education, a bid which has left most in abusive marriages and avid poverty,” she says.
Sarah explains further that financial inclusion for women include giving women the knowledge and allowing them to exercise their right to have a seat at the table where big decisions are made.
“It is not possible to achieve equity and reduce poverty without being legitimately inclusive and being deliberate in ensuring women are equipped with sound knowledge in financial management,” she says.
Sarah observes that women, families and indeed the entire country will continue to be impoverished if we continue to operate as if only men have the onus and ability to contribute to the greater mission.
She has been conducting financial skills and capability trainings for women to reduce gender-based barriers in the business environment.
Through the trainings she conducts, her organisation focuses on equipping women with sound business management and financial literacy skills, equipping women with personal leadership, sexual reproductive health (SRH) knowledge, child protection knowledge and human rights knowledge.
Sarah, through Tingathe provides access to a network of women and men in the business environment in their saving groups (local savings groups or village banks) and in the wider network of Malawi.
It also provides a start-up revolving capital for women to start or boost enterprises.
In equating financial literacy, financial behaviour and attitude for women’s excellence in business, she says the knowledge that a person has is what enables them to operate at a level of excellence or not.
Sound financial knowledge helps individuals make decisions and maintain a lifestyle that is in line with the knowledge that they have.
She explains: “An attitude for excellence is the fruit of the value one develops for excellence. The more one understands and embraces excellence the more they can strive for it.”
Sarah partnered with Aubrey, her husband to establish the business. Tingathe, she narrates that she partners with communities to build wealth and a wellbeing that sticks.
This is achieved through vocational training programmes for young men and women that combines training in marketable skills with knowledge courses in SRH, human rights and responsibilities and physical wellbeing such as yoga and capoeira.
She also runs a growth centered business management and financial literacy programme for youth and single mothers; and life skills training throughout her community engagement trainings.
Malawi has one of the youngest populations on the continent and this, she says is an exciting opportunity for all of the energy and innovativeness of the youth to be used to transform this country.
“Alas, many of our young people drop out of school or come out without any marketable skills and have little to no access to opportunities for them to thrive,” she adds.
She says the vocational skills building programme is their flagship, through which they provide Tingathe certificates, however, their youth are able to sit through Tevet exams.
We envision: “A society that has, empowered, influential and economically independent youth,” She says.
Through their Azimayi Tingathe Geni programme, a short course that specifically targets women from peri-urban communities; by July this year, they will have graduated 100 women.
Sarah was born in January 1990, the last born of six children.
She is a Malawian feminist with over nine years programming experience in gender and governance; ending violence against women and girls (Evawg), sexual related gender based violence, vocational training for youth, human rights and child protection.
She has worked at the global, national and grassroots levels, engaging various stakeholders and interest groups.
She was also awarded the 86th most influential woman in the World by Women Deliver in 2012.
She says through her journe,y she has touched many women who in turn have left a mark on her life.
Sarah says there are many wonderful people who inspire her, but the people who inspire her most are the women she journeys with.
“With all the odds stacked against them, women of my country go forward-ever willing and ready to learn and transform and carrying the whole country on their shoulders. These women inspire me the most,” she says.
Her path hasn’t been without challenges. Every day has its challenges, wins and opportunities.
“I am blessed to have an incredible husband and knowing that we are taking this path together, the dream is truly one we share. I have an amazing family and wonderful friends who are believers like me,” she says.
Her daily mantra; ‘Just enjoy’ she says she enjoys her life, her work and everything.
“There are a lot of financial resources in this world held by very few people. I often think that too many of us would prefer to spend a lot to look like we care than invest sincerely in other people over time to see real transformation,” she adds.
Being a young, African woman with so much drive is something disconcerting and delightful, which she says can hinder inflow of finances and can also bring them in.