After 6 weeks of attending a Young African Leaders Initiative training in USA, the Othakarhaka foundation is so much excited to welcome back home its founder and executive Director, Ida Puliwa.
Ida was among the 18 young Malawian leaders who got selected for the prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship Program award by the US Department of State in the year 2023. She was placed at the Appalachian State university in North Carolina under Civic Engagement track.
Checking her background, Ida was born and raised in Nakhonyo village in Mulanje district where her community never believed in a power of a girl child education. She was the first girl from her village to graduate from college
Ida was motivated to start Othakarhaka (which means passing on the kindness) as a way of paying back the kindness when visitor from USA by the name of Dr Marquita Hill sponsored her to study in college in Malawi 11 years ago.
However, after she conceived the vision of organizing and leading her community into starting a ‘passing on the kindness’ charity movement in February, 2012, hundreds of people, including village leaders rejected her and her vision on the basis that she was just a girl. Ida was lucky to find 65 people who believed in her vision and together, they started working in the same villages she was rejected.
The impact of empowering the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalized members of the community such as girls, women, elderly, orphans, the disabled and the most vulnerable families started to grow and motivating those who first rejected her to join the Othakarhaka team.
Today, Othakarhaka has spread from 2 villages to 54, has 16 paid staff members and has over 6,700 volunteers (who contribute the minimum of 10 cents every month to support some of the organization programs). Othakarhaka work mainly focuses in programming areas of girls and women empowerment, tertiary and secondary school education sponsorship, public health through its community clinic, Sustainable agriculture and food security, agroforestry, Youth empowerment and the welfare support for the orphans and elderly.
Ida Puliwa has also won several awards for her outstanding community social service delivery through Othakarhaka Foundation.