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My name is Memory Banda and I work as a project coordinator.

At first, my parents and relatives were not supportive of my idea of continuing with my education. My aunts told me that I was old enough to get married then. After all, most of my friends were married. But I was courageous enough to say “No” to getting married at a young age. I wanted to continue with my education.

Now, when I visit my aunts in my home village they respect me. They even tell their children and grandchildren to see me as a role model. I know my situation changed my family’s mind-set, more especially my aunts’ because they now encourage their children to work hard in school and not to rush into marriage. Though my aunts said a lot of bad things, I stood on my words with support from my mother.

I want to be remembered for changing people’s lives here in Malawi by helping (protecting) girls, the youth’s, and the mind sets of parents. I’ve been working with different parents and youths so I believe that I’ve impacted their lives somehow.

Maybe you are in a situation like mine, or you know someone who is in the same shoes as I was years ago. My advice is simple. It is not a bad thing to assess your parent’s instructions. Approach them with respect and reason on the need to finish school and not rush into marriage.

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