17 August 2018
Breaking News

Kamphira reaps fruits of hard work

Written by  Solister Mogha
Some of the pupils at Chiguma Primary school Some of the pupils at Chiguma Primary school

BLANTYRE, January 23: Hard work and dedication pays.  That’s the story of Mark Kamphira, a 35-year-old volunteer teacher who has transformed the status of Chiguma Primary in Blantyre from a community structure into a fully government owned school.

With his contribution to society, Kamphira emerged the overall winner in the 2017 Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC’s) Innovator of Innovators award and was rewarded with K3.5 million cash prize and a one-month all paid for trip to the Peoples Republic of China.

Other accolades for Kamphira included a treat to a State dinner, a photo opportunity with the Head of State, President Professor Peter Mutharika and a scholarship for further studies.

His success did not come on a silver platter. He had to sweat by sacrificing his time, resources and everything towards his work.

Since 2015, Kamphira has been teaching at Chiguma Primary School, which was established and run by the community in Traditional Authority Kunthembwe. He was the lone teacher managing all classes from Standard one to seven.

He was the school’s head teacher, deputy head, class teacher and sports master. In brief, he was an all-rounder.

For all the great work, Kamphira only got a measly K15, 000 as his monthly pay sourced from community’ contributions. On some other months, he could live with less that amount because some poor households could not afford the contribution.

Indisputably, his dependency on the community affected his performance but such a challenge did not take away his powerful drive and desire to work even harder.

“I accepted to teach in a harsh environment because it has always been my passion to teach. I wanted to assist children from the area to attain quality education,” Kamphira says.

He confides that he was touched by the alarming school dropout rates.

“I never wanted the situation to continue and that is why I volunteered to teach children in the area.”

In the course of his voluntary work, Kamphira would sometimes use his scanty resources to buy teaching and learning materials. Within the two years that he has been in charge of the school, many learners have posted good results.

Due to his hard work and dedication, MBC included Kamphira on the list of 2017 innovators awardees under the education category.

Luckily, the volunteer teacher scooped first position in the category before emerging the overall winner as Innovator of Innovators.

Kamphira says he never imagined this would ever happen in his life and until today, the shock is yet to start waning.

“You can imagine the shock; from struggling to get a monthly income of K15, 000 and stumbling into a millionaire overnight,” he says.

For someone who never expected any reward from his hard work and dedication, the gods have really smiled at him with this national recognition that is will surely find its way to the global scene.

With the prize money he got through the award, Kamphira has lined up a number of a short and long-term plans.

Firstly, he wants upgrade his qualifications from the Malawi School Certificate Education (MSCE) which he obtained at Mulanje Secondary School with 29 points.

“I want to pursue a degree in education majoring in humanities,” he says.

In the long term, Kamphira is planning to build a three-bedroom house in Chilomoni, Blantyre where he secured land for such a project.

Unlike other people who would easily be carried away with such a huge sum of money, the volunteer teacher refuses to head that direction.

He has already deposited K3 million to one of the country’s commercial banks under a fixed-deposit account while pondering on how best he can invest the money on the two priority plans.

“I am very careful with the money. I would like to do something that will be memorable to my life,” Kamphira says.

He adds that he takes the advice he received from the state president that he should continue working hard and forge ahead in creating a better future for himself and the school children.

Kamphira’s initiative and dedication has put Chiguma Primary School on the map with government through the Ministry of Education responding by deploying two additional teachers.

Despite the new developments both at the primary school and in his personal life, Kamphira vows to continue serving his community until such a time when he secures a place in college for further studies.

“I am excited that the school has two more teachers that are professionals. This is good for pupils in terms accessing better and quality education,” he says.

During the unveiling of the two new teachers, Blantyre District Education Manager responsible for rural primary education, Paul Chiphanda, hailed Kamphira for his positive contribution to society.

 “The DEM’s office recognizes Kamphira’s contribution to the development of education. We will consider placing him in one of the teachers’ colleges so that he continues with his studies and become a qualified teacher,” Chiphanda says.

He adds that the ministry will maintain his services so that he continues with his selfless work despite the coming of new teachers.

Chiguma Primary School is now a fully recognized public institution; it will operate a double shift teaching system of morning and afternoon classes to give chance to more children in the area to access primary school education.