The project is under the theme, ‘I am a child not a bride’
* Most girls can’t afford school fees or they don’t have learning materials or they don’t have a school uniform
* So they are being sent back home and because their parents can’t afford to send them to school they dropped out
* Zama Africa is an organization that empowers youths to stop taking up space and find their purpose
By Duncan Mlanjira
Leticia Tiyamike Bwanausi, the Malawian model and advocate for Africanism, youth empowerment and social development — trending under NGO Zama Africa — is appealing to other organisations and well-wishers to join her initiative in supporting needy school girl learners across the country.
She said this after assisting 250 girls, of which 193 received stationery and 57 received uniforms. They are learners in primary schools of Kanjedza in Blantyre; Chilanga in Kasungu; Domasi (primary and secondary); Domasi Government, Malemia and Mchenga Wedi.
Leticia, who started modelling in 2015 when she was residing in South Africa, co-founded Zama Africa — which is an organization that empowers youths to stop taking up space and find their purpose.
“When we visited Domasi in February, we noticed that most children who were supposed to be in school, were just roaming in the streets,” she said. “We asked ourselves, ‘why are they not in school’ — the answer was poverty.
“Most of them can’t afford school fees or they don’t have learning materials or they don’t have a school uniform. So they are being sent back home and because their parents can’t afford to send them to school they dropped out.”
She further said since they were also in a competition that is being run by an organization called Female and More, which required them to do a social impact project, they decided to initiate the ‘Distribution of Uniforms’ project.
“Our doors are open for other organizations or well-wishers who are willing to partner with us in implementing the project,” she said. “Let’s hold each others’ hands and fight school drop outs, early child marriages and teen pregnancies.
“We didn’t get any funding from well-wishers but we fund-raised since February where we sold Zama Africa T-shirt which were sold at K10,000. Female and More and Miss Central International helped with the designing of the project and implementation.
She added that beneficiary were identified through head teachers of the schools they planned of visiting and he is the one that identified the girls.
She indicated that they intend to sustain the project, done under the theme ‘I am a child not a bride’, in line with Zama Africa’s vision of teaching young girls and boys the importance of education and making something good of themselves.
In an earlier interview, Leticia said they encourage girls to stay in school “no matter the circumstance” and to believe in self-motivation. Her NGO, Zama Africa, also takes cognizance that other factors affecting girls not to do well in school is their inability to read and write English and they want to inculcate a reading culture amongst the youths.
In February, Leticia was invited to contest at the glamorous Miss Africa Golden pageant that held in Tanzania. Miss Africa Golden is an Afro global beauty pageant that promotes Black originality culture and tourism.
She got exposed to modeling at a very young age from friends she was schooling with whilst in South Africa where she was eventually recruited by a well known agency Famous Cosmo Black (FCB).
“When I started, I was mostly doing promos, fashion shows and I was a brand ambassador for Mzansi Swim Wear, Dropy — a local clothing brand — as well as fashion shows for South Africa designer Lindiwe Kuzwayo and of Fezile Fashion Skill Academy,” she had said.
She said she ventured in pageantry in 2017 in which she won her first pageant, Miss Summer Body 2017 and went on to place as First Princess for Miss Top Model Africa 2018. She also entered Miss World Top Model SA 2020 in which she made it to the top 10 and also as a finalist in Miss Culture International Malawi.
She has also modelled for South Africa Embrace Africa-organized pageant — World Top Model and Miss Top Model Africa in Nigeria.