21 year old Ellen Chilemba is passionate about lifting women in Malawi out of poverty


Young, focused, and with a heart of gold, Ellen Chilemba is using her social enterprise, ‘‘Tiwale’’. to help women and young girls in Malawi who are living in poverty or would have been married off at a young age.

Tiwale, which means ‘‘let’s glow” in Chichewa, helps women achieve their goals by empowering them to start small businesses. Tiwale also trains women to design and dye-print material that is sold to Malawi’s fabric-exporters and shipped worldwide from Ellen’s MHC dorm room.

Ellen was inspired to start her business after her unsuccessful attempt at obtaining a loan from banks. Her next best alternative, the local money lenders, charged exorbitant interest rates.

In 2015, Ellen made the Forbes ‘‘30 under 30 list.’’ She, however, does not think she has reached her zenith as planning is already underway to build an education and entrepreneur center for women.

Ellen hopes that one day Tiwale will be able to operate seamlessly without her. Talk about a woman with foresight.

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