Ellen Chilemba is one of Africa’s youngest social entrepreneurs, bringing about change and empowerment for the women left behind by society.
Ellen Chilemba is a 26 year old girl from Malawi who managed to become one of the most influential social entrepreneurs in Africa in her twenties. Chilemba has made it to the Forbes’ list of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs under 30 with her project TIWALE, a for-profit community based social enterprise that specializes in supporting Malawian women to create and maintain projects to help save them from poverty and forced child marriage.
Chilemba was born and raised in Malawi, where she lived with her grandparents whom she helped with their mango cultivating business during her childhood years. She pursued her primary and secondary education in her home country before earning a scholarship to study in South Africa’s African Leadership Academy when she was 16 years old. She graduated from the Academy with a degree in leadership, entrepreneurship and African studies. She is nowa junior at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts where she majors in Economics and Studio Art.
Chilemba believes that gender empowerment is the key to reducing poverty in her homeland. Gender disparity statistics in Malawi are alarming by global standards. Women have some of the lowest primary school completion rates, low socioeconomic markers and higher than average HIV and AIDS infection figures. Malawi also has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates and many young women are forced to leave school and marry at 12 or 13.Women in Malawi are some of the most vulnerable and marginalized in Africa. These are the conditions that inspired Chilemba to create a project that would improve lives in a big way.