September 17, 2012
“I’m a Graduate of Chaminade”
A diploma from a Marianist high school in Karonga, Malawi – coupled with enormous determination – helps thousands of students forge a path out of poverty.
Meet Lyson Mswazi Mlenga, a native of Malawi, who in 1990 was given an opportunity to earn a high school diploma in a country where 97 percent of its young people never cross that finish line. That’s because Malawi is a country so undeveloped, even by African standards, it teeters on the brink of disaster. The statistics tell a sobering story.
According to United Nations’ estimates, Malawi ranks among the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Most people eke out a living as subsistence farmers. (The average household earns less than 50 cents a day.) For many, there is never enough food. Children suffer the most, with 48 percent chronically malnourished. Health statistics reveal a country in crisis: Twelve percent of its 14 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS; life expectancy hovers at age 38; and more than a million children have been orphaned as a result of AIDS.