We are excited to share about the journey an exceptional young leader, Marriam Lally who is also a volunteer of OneAfricanChild. Aside volunteering with OAC, she is doing a lot more for the betterment of her community.
Meet Marriam Lally
My name is Marriam Lally and I was born on the 8th of May in 1991. I hear it was a beautiful Wednesday. I was born to Clara and James. I was born in a Christian family but I later converted to Islam at the age of 9. I am married to my husband David, and I have a daughter whose name is Wumi. Her name is in the Yao language and it means LIFE.
I always look back at myself as a lucky child born in a privileged family. I had everything I needed and wanted as a child. I believed in giving to the needy and the less fortunate as that was what my mother inspired and instilled in me. I thus grew up with mercy and compassion for mankind. Learning Islam further deepened my compassion and I realized I easily cry when I see people that are facing difficulty or any kind of injustice and inequality.
At the age of 8, I met a young boy in school who had Downs Syndrome. He had no friends because in those days we all thought children born with such a predicament were not normal. I made friends with him although he resisted at first. He thought maybe I wanted to make fun of him but the moment we became friends we were inseparable. In due course my schoolmates saw that it was easy to make friends with him and he eventually made many friends. No one bullied him again. With the help of my mum, I later on interviewed a number of street kids for a television program called The Silver Line and learnt about their life on the streets. The program was aired on the International Children’s day of Broadcasting. I cried every night after every shoot. I felt an immense sense of guilt for having so much when other children had nothing at all. I now look back and see that this is when my leadership journey began. I ended up donating almost all my clothes to them and my mum wasn’t exactly thrilled about me remaining with only two clothes and my school uniform.
I now look in the streets and wonder where these kids have gone. 3 years ago I was startled one day when a young man of my age recognised me as ‘that girl that brought a camera and had many questions years ago’. I remembered him and we had a lengthy discussion on what he is busy with and he told me he sells plastic bags in the market. It made me even more sad to learn that most of his peers had either passed away or simply gone missing.
Fast forwarding to the present, The MOREMI INITIATIVE FOR LEADERSHIP EMPOWERMENT AND DEVELOPMENT recently named me amongst Africa’s Outstanding Emerging Women Leaders of 2015.
As part of my fellowship requirements I had to travel to Ghana and attend a training course at the University Of Ghana in Accra. I learnt a lot at the institute and it opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities. I started seeing the world from a very different perspective. Another requirement of my fellowship was to initiate a MICHANGE project and I am currently in the initial phases of my project on Cerebral Palsy. The aim of my project is to bring rehabilitation, nutrition and support group services to children living with Cerebral Palsy in the areas surrounding Mpemba at no cost. Mpemba lies in the outskirts of Blantyre, which is Malawi’s Commercial city. I intend to expand my services to other parts of Malawi.
I am currently part of a group of young women that offer mentorship and career guidance to youth in secondary schools. I was also recently recruited by One African Child as a volunteer. I volunteered for ZAMANAWE (a peer education organization) whilst in College.
I have been on the Radio and Television as a presenter of Children’s programs. I love working with the community and I have a passion to see change. I believe if I want something done right I must do it myself. One of my God given gifts is my ability to speak in public and I do not shy away from any challenge.
My dream is to see an Africa that grants equal opportunity to all children, regardless of their financial and social status, their health and their religion. I also want to see physically and mentally challenged children accepted in our societies for nothing hurts them more than the stigma they face from people that are not challenged in those ways.
I am currently focused on my studies and my volunteer work. I am pursuing my Masters in Business administration at ESAMI. I may be done by April next year and I will graduate in November if God wills. I studied English Literature at The University Of Malawi: Chancellor College.
I am excited to see what the world has in store for me. I am ready to devote my time and resources for the betterment of other human beings because I believe a life like that will be a life well lived.