Malawi: Violet Chavula

Influencing age-old tradition requires one’s patience and perseverance. You must be humble, use tact and respect their beliefs.

— Violet Chavula

Violet Chavula is the women’s coordinator with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (Ccap), in charge of Blantyre presbytery. After living in London for several years, she moved to a remote village in Malawi. She is engaged in advocacy for the rights of girls and women and the protection of orphans.

The four girls could not grasp their predicament. Soon after their mother died after delivering a fifth daughter, their father deserted them. They faced another tragedy when the little baby fell sick and died shortly after. An 80-year-old woman in their village, saddened by their tragedy, adopted the girls. They moved into the woman’s little hut surviving on her meager resources. Victoria Chavula was stunned by this woman’s compassion and dismayed by the younger community’s apathy. She mobilized the youth to renovate the woman’s hut and the community’s support for the woman and the girls. But soon, Violet faced another disturbing issue. The old woman had no plans for the girls’ education, but rather for them to mature and get married. She relentlessly implored the woman and eventually convinced her to send the girls to school. Stirred by this event, Violet began to advocate for girls' education within the community and started a program to care for orphans in the village and its environs. Sixteen years on, Violet’s commitment to this cause has not waned. "Fighting attitudes is no simple game,” she whispers behind her modest smile.

Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (Ccap)