Public praises MUST student who helps his parents sell farm produce to meet his academic needs

* His name is Salim Chanesa. For those who may wish to talk to or support Salim, his number is +265 999 017 062

* May the Lord smile at this young man and bless all his endeavours—Dawn Gowa Nyasulu

* We’re on track on mindset change, especially for some young people—Charles Kabena

* Remarkable! He will grow up to become a responsible citizen. Best wishes to him—senior citizen Chris-Tofa Kapanga

By Duncan Mlanjira

A post on Facebook by renowned journalist, Thom Khanje, in which he exposed Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) student Salim Chanesa helping his parents sell farm produce to meet his academic needs — has been received by the public as an excellent mindset change.


Khanje, the former president for MISA Malawi, said he encountered the student when he stopped by at Chinkhoma in Kasungu to have something to eat, and as he enjoyed his meal he “noticed the young man busy on a laptop — whilst selling a variety of vegetables”.

“On engaging him out of curiosity, he told me he is a second-year biomedical engineering student at Malawi University of Science and Technology and is currently on holiday.

“He runs the vegetable business to supplement what his farming parents can afford in terms of fees and upkeep as they struggle to meet all the needs.

“He uses the laptop, which he bought for himself, to keep himself engaged on school prescribed literature and, of course, some entertainment even while on holiday.

“His name is Salim Chanesa. For those who may wish to talk to or support Salim, his number is +265 999 017 062.”

The beautiful and magnificent MUST Campus

Dawn Gowa Nyasulu immediately shared the post on his own Facebook page, with the message: “May the Lord smile at this young man and bless all his endeavours! Thank you, Thom Khanje for bringing this to the attention of the world.”

On Khanje’s page, Charles Kabena said: “We’re on track on mindset change, especially for some young people” with Silvester Ayuba James saying this is “the attitude we all need to embrace”.

Charles Mbale was impressed with the young man’s humbleness, saying his “good working spirit will not end there” as it “is already in him and will continue. May God bless him as he understands and assists the parents”.

Senior citizen Chris-Tofa Kapanga said: “Remarkable! He will grow up to become a responsible citizen. Best wishes to him”, with Trinity Kubalasa saying the young man “will go far in this life. Pride pena doesn’t help”.


Kenneth Sazuze Jhala described him as an “amazing young man who has a good determination and well focused” and that God should bless him to fully realise his dreams.

Musician Wycliffe Chimwendoh said: “This is what is missing in our society where we choose only big things. Small things add up to big things. Malawians would pick very crazy jobs outside the country but act bossy in Malawi. This should be a good model to learn from.”

Journalist Alfred Chauwa said this country needs young people like Him, saying MW2063 agenda can be achieved through such productive spirit.

Davies Jiva said: “This is a common practice in Europe — students work hard to earn more money” while Jorge Thawe commented that this is one spirit most university students dont have and have never thought of.

“Let’s do businesses that our parents are doing and with our education we can make those businesses grow,” he said. “Learn to make money while still young.”


Journalist Rebecca Chimjeka revealed that she knows another young man with the same spirit, who sells slippers to make a living and she discovered that he is a student at Catholic University, to which Prince Henderson attested, saying he verified with CU. “The guy deserves our support.”

Deus Sandram commented that what these young men are doing is not easy boss as “the business can’t meet his full educational needs”.

“The students need support. The loans board needs to increase numbers and provide more support beyond fees,” he said.

As more comments of encouragement kept coming, Khanje announced that several people had come to his inbox expressing intention to support him, including providing him an internship opportunity and encouraged others to reach out to the young man.

In a related development, a young university student, Jeremiah Chikumbutso — studying Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) at Eden University in Zambia — has made Jacaranda School for Orphans founder, Marie da Silva very proud when he made a courtesy visit at his former school.

Da Silva with Jeremiah, her product

Da Silva posted pictures of Jeremiah with the caption ‘when the students come home to visit’ — saying is a graduate from Jacaranda and that “upon completion of school he did his year of service at our Jacaranda Pediatric Physiotherapy clinic located next door to the school”.

“He is now in his third year second semester at Eden University in Zambia and will be in his 4th year this coming July year,” Da Silva said. “Thanks to his sponsor Christina Manna Pyle and to Trevor Otto and Kasey Otto for their support.

“Twenty years ago, when I started Jacaranda School in my family home; and kids sat on the floor with no school supplies or text books and we painted the wall black to use as black boards, I did have that dream of seeing the kids one day graduate and go to college.

“Today, there are two students studying medicine — another is David Mandiwa, who is in Botswana studying Bsc Cytotechnology and Histotechnology. Both were students in the same class.  I have a smile on my face. 🙂

Kondwani Zulu shared the post, saying “I love reading about Jacaranda School and reposting their posts as they are doing a very good job”, to which Da Silva thanked, saying she was “just doing part of our duty and service to our country — especially for the children who, when they start school, in their minds, they are already thinking of some day going to college and finding quality employment.

“So we try to make sure that those dreams are fulfilled,” to which Kondwani Zulu acknowledged, saying Da Silva and fellow management of the school “are contributing to a serious change in their livelihood.

“Given the extended family system we have here, you are literally changing whole villages” while Mphatso Buliyani said this was “changing the world — one life at a time”.

Jacaranda Foundation, that operates free primary and secondary schools for over 400 orphaned learners in Newlands, Chigumula, is doing wonders for its learners and in April last year it became the first school in Malawi to be awarded full scholarships to five of its students to study Bachelor of degrees in prestigious African universities in Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

The five were David Mandiwa (in Biological Sciences at University of Botswana); Katie Kaonga (Social Sciences at Africa University in Zimbabwe); Harry Goliyo (Computer Sciences at African Leadership University in Mauritius); Idah Geoffrey (Entrepreneurship also at African Leadership University in Mauritius) and Franklin Rashid (Applied Computing at United States International University in Kenya).

This is in its 18th year of keeping orphaned children in school and more than over 100 of its graduates have go on to various colleges in Malawi such as the Catholic University; Malawi College of Accountancy; the Polytechnic; Malawi Institute of Tourism; Malawi Adventist University; Malawi Assemblies of God University amongst others.

“I never thought that our students would be receiving full scholarships to international universities in Africa,” Da Silva had said last year. “These students have come a long way with some of them starting school at Jacaranda at 6 years old in Standard 1.

“And all were coming from very underprivileged homes. I am very proud of them. Those are amazing scholarships.”

Clement and Reuben, proud products of Jacaranda

In 2020, two of Jacaranda’s 2017 Malawi School’s Certificate of Education (MSCE) graduates, Clement Kammwamba and Reuben Salima, were sent to the USA for a semester Accelerator Program at Watson Institute in Boulder, Colorado where they were to develop social entrepreneurship skills.

This was not their first time to travel abroad as in 2016 they attended the Otis College Summer of Art program in Los Angeles and in 2017, they also traveled to Shanghai, Beijing, New York City and Los Angeles.