Chifuniro M'manga-Kamwendo

Blantyre Secondary School, Blantyre, Malawi

Chifuniro M'manga-Kamwendo

Born into a family of 11, Chifuniro is a young Malawian teacher who is changing the profession.Growing up in a small village, there were few opportunities for employment or role models to inspire her to dream big. However, when she was nine, one of her older sisters moved away to the city for work and invited Chifuniro to stay. This was a turning point in her life, and after meeting one amazing English teacher called Mrs Mkandawire, her perception of life completely changed. What inspired Chifuniro most about this teacher was her confidence. Meeting a female teacher who could speak and teach English so well encouraged her, and she became her role model. Throughout secondary school and college, Chifuniro kept meeting amazing teachers who acted as life coaches and went the extra mile for her and others.

Chifuniro chose to study education in college so that she could give back to society and become a life coach. Since then she has used every resource available to create a world of possibilities for her students. Two years after joining a school, she decided to start giving empowerment meetings with the girls every term, where she invites prominent women to talk to them.In her six years of teaching, Chifuniro has pioneered a student-centered approach with quizzes, debates, drama, singing, dancing,group discussions,role-plays, brainstorming, assignments and presentations.The result was that for two consecutive years, her school produced the top results in the national secondary examinations.She sometimes partners with other young female teachers to talk to them about their capabilities and how they can excel.

Chifuniro has also innovated new teaching methods for students with hearing impairment. Malawi has adopted an inclusive policy where special needs students learn together with regular students, but this often disadvantages hearing-impaired students because the teaching process has not changed to accommodate them. With a small grant of $2000 from International Research and Exchanges (IREX), Chifuniro managed to train all teachers in basic sign language, recruit a specialist teacher for the hearing-impaired and record videos of lessons with captions which are watched later outside the classroom.

If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Chifuniro would help make sure every child of school-going age faces no barrier to education due to lack of money for school fees, basic needs,or disability.An existing project aiming to improve teaching and learning for hearing-impaired students at Blantyre Secondary School would also be scaled up to reach out to all schools with hearing-impaired students across the country. Chifuniro would also use some funds to support the introduction of special programs in community colleges and the technical colleges, so that when hearing-impaired students qualify for college, obstacles are minimised.