By Samuel Malasa Banda
At only 8, Michael was one of the notorious street kids in Lilongwe, Malawi. Having been abandoned by parents at a tender age, growing in a family of six, Michael’s life was all about survival.
“When I was growing up, things like school or the future never made sense. Life was all about searching for the day’s meal, using any other means, including violence and robbing people at times” confesses Michael.
It was in 2004 that his redemption came close.
A relative took him off the streets and there he started his primary education and five years later was selected to Chipoka Secondary school where he finished his secondary school in 2012. After secondary education, there was no possibility of a tertiary education since he had no family or friends to help him.
Michael says his secondary school education had opened his eyes to the future: “After my secondary school, I had developed a passion for electronics; nevertheless, I knew that though I had good grades, I couldn’t go to college because I had no family to support me”
It was until 2014 that abundant grace shone on his life.
“I had heard that there is a new organization in town helping young people realizes their dreams. That how I came to Cornerstone”, he says. “I started helping in the After-school program and while there I also attended the weekly Youth Empowerment sessions where we were drilled with basic skills of life. Those lessons have been very valuable to the person I am today”, testifies Michael.
Today, the once upon a time street boy is now a fourth-year student at Blantyre International University (BIU) completing his Bachelor of Science in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) degree.
“While at Cornerstone, I met friends from the US who were ready to sponsor me further my education. With my passion for electronics, it’s when I chose to study ICT at BIU” he concludes.
Just like Michael, there are many students who have undergone the Cornerstone Youth Empowerment Program and are now on the path to their bright future.
Michael had a dream, all it needed was a safe haven where his dream could be nurtured, and Cornerstone became that place. Beyond, he needed someone who could believe in his ability, Kristen Walker and her family took the challenge, you can also reach out and help a struggling camp leader at Cornerstone Youth Empowerment program access tertiary education and curve a beautiful future like Michael’s for them.