By Franco Mwachande Jnr
We at Teamplus Television we cerebrate life of Felia Malola. Our senior national news reporter Franco Mwachande Jnr in 2019 had an exclusive interview with her.
Felia Malola is a well-known woman in the country for her charitable works to different vulnerable groups in the country and she started her charity organization called Pashelo Charitable Trust. When she was starting the trust, a lot of people thought she was going to fail but its now 9 years and the Trust is still intact and thriving.
TP- Tell us about yourself?
FM- I am Felia Adziwandiye Malola, I am married to Lloyd Malola and we have 3 biological children. Patrick, Sheilla and Lloyd jnr. I come from Mangawa village in the Area of Traditional Authority Ngabu in Chikwawa district and I was born on 6th December, 1969. I am the Executive Director of Pashello Charitable Trust which is located in Ngabu, Chikwawa district.
TP-Can you tell us about your educational journey?
FM-I went to Makande model primary school in Chikwawa then Stella Maris secondary school. After that I went to Blantyre Teachers Training College. After teaching for 10 years in primary schools like Zingwangwa, Kawale and Chinsapo, I did diploma in Youth in Development in work from Commonwealth Youth Program by Zimbabwe Open University in conjunction with Bunda College of Agriculture now Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).
TP-Can you describe your journey of this Trust?
FM- In 2004 our family had a chance to go to United Kingdom (UK) and whilst their life was very different as things were much better than home. We realised people in Malawi especially in rural areas suffer a lot. That’s when as a family we thought of helping the vulnerable needy people back home.
We came back from the UK in 2010. We registered Pashello Charitable Trust in 2011. Pashello stands for our 3 children PAtrick, SHEila, LLOyd. We thought of loving orphans and other vulnerable people just like we love our own kids. It was not easy when we just started. We started with 20 kids, feeding them once a day. By God’s grace now we have 100 kids at the care center and we feed them twice a day breakfast and lunch. We have 6 kids in the house who lost their mothers at birth. They came into our care a day or two days old. We also have 3 kids with albinism in the house for security reasons. We donate wheelchairs to the physically challenged, Braille papers and other needs to visually impaired kids at Makande Resource Centre, we also build houses for the child headed families and elderly.
TP-What promoted you to establish Pashelo Charitable Trust?
FM- I believe it was just a calling. I can’t say how and why I started doing this. It’s not easy and we have so many challenges. Looking after day old babies it’s the biggest challenge we have. Buying milk, diapers, soap, clothes, and also paying nannies it’s not easy. Sometimes I even cry. Hahaha! But all in all, I feel good when I save lives, feed the vulnerable, build houses… all these plus many more. This is what the bible teaches us, to love other people especially the vulnerable just like we love ourselves.
TP-How did people perceive you after leaving your teaching career to establish the Trust?
FM- People never believed that I could do it. And some of the comments that were coming from my friends and relatives were like; do you think you can manage it? Let’s watch and see. But because I took it as a calling from God to serve vulnerable, I had determination and hardworking spirit, I proved that I could do it. One thing I avoided was giving up. That made me even work harder. As Trust like this depends so much on funding and for you to get it you need to write proposals, convince the donors or other well-wishers so that you can find money to aid vulnerable.
TP-From the day it started, has there been an improvement on the status of either the vulnerable?
FM-I thank God Almighty for trusting and believing in me. My husband and children, they are my strongest pillars. Duncan Gwamba Zgambo is Pashello Ambassador. He is constructing an orphanage for us. Power4good Ireland with Joseph Nyirenda are constructing Multipurpose Hall for us. One of our Directors in UK, Victor Chikhula tries hard to provide toys, clothes, books and other needs for our kids. Our partners in UK, The Reach Foundation UK, feed our kids at the care center. We thank God for them. We also thank all the well-wishers, donors and supporters who helped us to reach this far.
TP- What do you find interesting about what you do?
FM- It’s very interesting to see kids playing with you. To be a mother of over 100 kids makes me proud. Not only kids but also widows, physically challenged, visually impaired, elderly and other vulnerable groups. I feel proud.
TP- What are challenges that you face? What obstacles have you overcome for you to get to where you are now?
FM-We have challenges. There are a lot of people who need our support but we don’t have enough resources. We need well-wishers to help us construct a clinic to support vulnerable people especially our kids. We need people to help us pay school fees for needy students. It’s not easy. Sometimes you ask for well-wishers to help you with something, no one responds. And you still have to find a way to find that thing, for example food, milk and diapers for the children.
TP-Do you think government is trying its best in protecting life of vulnerable groups in the country?
FM-The government is trying its best in protecting the lives of vulnerable groups in the country but it needs us also to help the government because we are the ones living with the vulnerable people in our different communities and we know their needs.
TP-The kitchen is usually believed to be a place where women belong. What do you have to say about such kind of thinking?
FM- The kitchen is a place for both men and women. It’s high time we practice gender equality in Malawi. Men are the best cooks in the world. Go to hotels for example, chefs are men and not women. But this type of thinking that women have to be in the kitchen cooking for men is killing us. This type of thinking has to be stopped.
FM-What would you say you enjoy most about what you do?
FM- I enjoy most serving the Lord in being kind to the vulnerable people. My friends are orphans/vulnerable kids, widows, physically challenged, visually impaired and elderly. We even registered Glory to God Ministries to give hope to the hopeless. There is power in prayer.
TP-Is this where you imagined you would be?
FM- This is just the beginning. I have dreams, lots of them and I dream in colour. Hahaha. God willing we want to have an orphanage, hall, clinic, radio station and studio, primary and secondary schools. At the moment we have Maize mill, bridal and decor shop, stopover and Refreshments center as sources of our income. All donations in cash and kind are most welcome.
TP-What advice would you give to anyone who admire to start charitable work like you?
FM- Anyone admiring to start charitable work, my advice is don’t be afraid. You don’t need to have a lot of money and resources to do this. It’s a heart. If you have a loving and caring heart you are qualified. Everything will follow after that. God will send angels to support you.
TP-Can you share us any achievement like awards since you started this?
FM-I was privileged to be recognized by the Queen Elizabeth in 2017 as one of the women who is doing wonderful work helping vulnerable people in Malawi. And the greatest achievement is when I received Heart of Compassion last year Award by GESU. It was the greatest day of my life. I thank God.