In the Malawi Muslim Special story, Bright Malenga is talking to a bright Muslim young woman, Jaariah Misyaje.
Bright Malenga: Who is Jaariah Misyaje
Jaariah Misyaje: Jaariah Misyaje is a young woman aged 22. My parents are from Balaka but we have lived in Zomba for as long as I can remember.
Bright Malenga: Shed more light on your educational background.
Jaariah Misyaje: I began my primary school at Bwaila Local Education Authority (LEA) in where I did my standard 1 to 4. I transferred to St Joseph Girls Primary School where I picked up from standard 4 to 8. Both schools are in Zomba district.
I did my secondary education at Dedza Girls Islamic School. I sat for my Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) in 2013 and I scooped an aggregate of 9 points. I was awarded as one of the best female performers for MSCE by the Muslims Alumni Society (MUAS) .
Bright Malenga: Amazing! After scooping nine points, what followed?
Jaariah Misyaje: I applied for the University of Malawi for several programs and sat for the University Entrance Exams.
I had applied for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) as a first choice , Pharmacy as the second and Bachelor of Science as the last. I got selected to study Bachelor of Science.
Bright Malenga: You applied for MBBS as your first choice and you were selected to pursue the third choice , how did it feel and how did you cope?
Jaariyah Misyaje: I was devastated at first when the news came but once I enrolled for the program , I started liking it.
It broke my heart to be left out truth be told, because in my mind it made no sense how I could have been left after performing brilliantly in my MSCE. But the realization that certain things happen for a reason helped to trust the process, so instead of wallowing over what missed me I decided to pursue the program I was to with an open mind. I have always been a natural when it comes to Mathematics, and I love numbers. So during my third year I decided I should study focus on the 2courses.
At this moment I am in my Final year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Statistics as a Major and Mathematics as a Minor.
Bright Malenga: Give me an image of Jaariah Misyaje outside the classroom?
Jaariah Misyaje: School aside I am a young leader and an entrepreneur. I have participated in several youth entrepreneurship programs. For instance, I participated in the DOT Impactathon which was hosted by Mhub in 2018, FEMBIOBIZ season 3 and Jobs for Youth (j4y) program in 2019.
I am passionate about being a driver for change by involving communities in advocating for environmental conservation. I am a Co-Founder and the Board Chair of Environment Friends Limited which is a non profit that advocates for environmental conservation. We offer clean up services to some informal settlement areas within Zomba and we also offer waste collection and disposal services. Our dream is to use research and innovation in solving environmental issues. Primarily we are focusing on proper waste management and we plan on being a company that will take a leading role in coming up with ways we can deal with the problem of poor waste management. One project that has popped up from the waste management is biogas production. We are yet to produce our first prototype and we hope that by the end of this year, we should have a prototype.
The organization aside I do charity works. One recent charity work I mobilised and is yet to be done is one involving inmates at Zomba Central Prison. We intend on donating masks to help in the fight against COVID-19. Through this initiative I was privileged to join a network of youth across Africa and beyond that were doing various projects concerning COVID-19 called DOTYOUTH STREET TEAM.
Bright Malenga: How do you balance the two? I mean academics and other projects?
Jaariah Misyaje: It was hard at first to balance the too but knowing what to do and when is key . I usually have a weekly schedule at the beginning of the week listing all the activities that need my attention. From that list I prioritize on things that can’t wait and I always make sure to stick to my schedule, so that I can be efficient . The trick is on time management.
It is essential to ensure balance in between academics and any initiative that one wants to pursue. As I’ve said before better time management ensures the success in all the endeavors one chooses to do. In addition to that having support systems is equally crucial. There have been times when I felt like giving up what I do but having the right people around has helped me to tirelessly work on what I plan on achieving.
Bright Malenga: What is your plan after getting the gown?
Jaariah Misyaje: The plan is to go back to my village ,give back and be a driver for change. I plan on carrying out projects focused on women and girls that will foster their economic capacity and mould them into entrepreneurs.
Bright Malenga: You can make a good Member of Parliament. Are you joining politics after graduating?
Jaariah Misyaje: Not exactly. I have plans of venturing into agriculture, so I might have to relocate and settle down there. The projects are kinda side activities. Things I am passionate about.
Bright Malenga: What is your advice to youths especially Muslim girls who need to emulate you ? To be precise, I mean balancing academics and other initiatives.
Jaariah Misyaje: It is essential to ensure balance in between academics and any initiative that one wants to pursue. As I’ve said before better time management ensures the success in all the endeavors one chooses to do. In addition to that having support systems is equally crucial. There have been times when I felt like giving up what I do but having the right people around has helped me to tirelessly work on what I plan on achieving.
Bright Malenga: what hooks Jaariah Misyaje on her free time?
Jaariah Misyaje: On my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, mountain hiking, travelling. Sports wise, I enjoy playing netball and darts.
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