March 17, 2017 by Thumbiko Nyirongo
American businesswoman Mary Kay Ash once said, “Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”
Chimwemwe Phiri, A former maid-servant in Chinyonga Township in the commercial city of Blantyre is a sound example of person who did not limit herself in life, according to her the sky is not the limit at all.
Chimwemwe, a third born in the family of three girls from the central region district of Malawi, Dedza could not remember the last time she called her parents ‘’Mum” and ‘’Dad” as she lost both of them two years after her birthday.
Growing as orphan in the rural area with her struggling grand-mother, life was not easy for Chimwemwe and her siblings. Sometimes they could spend two days without eating any food but still they survive.
“Life was not easy for me and my relatives; we could sometimes work up early in the morning to work in nearby farms so that we could find something to put in our empty stomachs,” narrated Chimwemwe.
When the worse come to worst in the Village, Chimwemwe in accompany with her friend decided to seek for green-pasture in the commercial city of Blantyre where she was employed as a maid-servant at Chilomoni Township.
“In the year 2004, after writing my Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (PSLCE) l left my home village Dedza for Blantyre to seek for green-pasture. Lucky enough I was employed as a maid-servant,’’ she said.
She added that, “ At the work the treatment was not good at all sometimes l would go to bed at around 10 o’clock in the evening and wake up 3 o’clock in the morning doing house-hold chores,’’
After working for almost a year in Chilomoni, Chimwemwe was fired after reasons better known by her employer. She then found another job as a maid-Servant again in Chinyonga Township, Blantyre that was the begging of a new chapter in her life.
“…..after being fired at Chilomoni l spent two good days searching for a new job around Blantyre. In these two days l was sleeping at Wenela Bus depot as a passenger waiting for Bus. On the third day it was when l found another job in Chinyonga at a certain pastor,” Chimwemwe told Africa Inspire Foundation.
While working at Chinyonga in 2006, Chimwemwe convinced her employer to start evening classes. She then enrolled at Chichiri Secondary School for night classes.
“My employer was kind enough to give me a go ahead, l started form 1 at Chichiri Secondary School evening classes. l was serving my monthly salary to pay for school fees. I passed my Junior Certificate examinations with good grades this inspired my boss and they started paying for my school fees on top of my monthly salary,’’ she said.
After writing her Malawi School Certificate Examinations (MSCE) in 2010, she was enrolled at Soche Technical College in Blantyre where she studied Tailoring and designing Diploma with financial assistance from her boss.
‘’ After passing MSCE, l was enrolled at Soche Technical college where l did a Diploma in Tailoring and Designing. After graduating as a professional Tailor, l stopped working as a house-maid and l secured a job as a tailor at a certain shop in Trade fair grounds Blantyre.”
“After working for over three years, l served enough money to buy two sawing machines to start my own Tailoring Shop in Limbe Blantyre and a year later the shop. The begging was not that easy, to win the hearts of customers was a very big challenge…..” said Chimwemwe, former maid-servant.
Today, Chimwemwe a professional Tailor in Limbe, Blantyre is the source of half of the well designed dresses in town. She managed to employ four tailors in her tailoring shop and she is able to support her family and relatives.