‘Success is earned’ so the saying goes and this describes the life journey of 26-year-old Mecry chiwaya, who was a Field Officer in YONECO’sTithandizane Helpline Services department. She fought against the odds to be where she is today.

“Passion, persistence, hard work and hope have been key to my survival” says the soft-spoken Mercy. From a humble background in Thyolo district where she grew up, Mercy wanted to become an educated lady.

However, a number of hardships stood between her and the dream. At the age of 14, Mercy had given birth and dropped out of school.

“I thought I will end my poverty by having a relationship but my poverty only worsened,” Mercy said.

Her parents abruptly said they cannot manage to take care of the two – Meaning Mercy and her baby. Despite her resistance, Mercy was forced into an arranged child marriage which she describes as ‘another bundle of problems’.

After perpetrating all sorts of domestic violence, the husband left Malawi for the Republic of South Africa leaving little Mercy and her child to fend for themselves.

“I vowed never to repeat my mistake and prayed to God for help and guidance” she said.

A few months later, Mercy’s brother came to her rescue and supported her to return to school. The brother managed to pay her tuition fees as well as providing her with other necessities until she reached Form 4.

After passing her Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) Examinations, she was forced out of her brother’s home after refusing to get married again at the age of 17. She was saved by well-wishers who gave her shelter and food until YONECO employed her as an Office Assistant.

Fast forward to 2019, Mercy’s outstanding performance has earned her a promotion to the position of a shift supervisor in Tithandizane Helpline Services. Mercy who was initially employed as an Office assistant in 2015, served on this position for a year and later got promoted to the position of Field Officer and this year, she has moved up the ladder again. Mercy’s advice to girls is “never give up and always work hard.”

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