Project Compassion helps Memory become a carpenter and role model

Memory with her former teacher who taught her carpentry at a technical college in Blantyre, Malawi. Photo: Tim Lam/Caritas Australia

This year for Project Compassion, Caritas Australia is telling the story of Memory who grew up in the Mwanza district in southern Malawi with her parents and four siblings. Her parents are subsistence farmers who depend on their crops for survival leaving them vulnerable to the seasons, leading to food insecurity.  

While girls in Malawi often drop out of school and enter either low income paid work or domestic labour, Memory was selected by local leaders as a candidate for a vocational skills course. With support from CADECOM, Caritas Australia’s local partner in Malawi, Memory trained in carpentry to prove that women can work in male-dominated industries. She now works for one of Malawi’s largest hydroelectric power companies. She is also a role model and trailblazer for other young women.  

“In the future, I want to build a house for my parents because the one they are using now is in a bad condition. I also want to own my own workshop so I can help the community and employ others in the community.  

“Being a female carpenter sets an example to others in my community. They see a woman can do what a man can do” Memory said.