A Chat with Our First African College Grad


Graduating from university is quite an accomplishment for anyone. But for an orphaned girl in Africa, it’s downright amazing. 

Aness Banda came into COTN’s Children’s Homes in Malawi in 1999, when she was just ten years old. Through the care her sponsors and other generous partners provided, Aness learned the significance of a relationship with God and the importance of a good education, among other things. And in May 2011, she graduated from African Bible University in Uganda, becoming the first COTN sponsored child from Africa to earn a bachelor’s degree.  
Today Aness is putting her education to work as a teacher at COTN’s secondary school, the International Christian Academy. We caught up with Aness recently to get some of her thoughts on the path she’s taken and the impact she’s having on the next generation of kids in Malawi.
Today Aness is having an impact on Malawi’s next generation by teaching
Aness became COTN’s first African college graduate in 2011. Today she’s having an impact on Malawi’s next generation by teaching at COTN’s school.
COTN: Why is a good education so important here in Malawi?
Aness:  “Here in Malawi, I can say that education is very important. Most of the time, if you’re not educated, life is so tough. 
“If you go to school, at least you can find something to do in life. But if you don’t go to school, definitely you’re going to be a farmer.
“If you get educated, at least you’ll be able to provide for other people, to help other people, and also to help yourself.”
COTN: Why is it good for COTN to have its own secondary school here in Malawi? Aren’t there enough secondary schools here?
Aness: “There are not enough secondary schools in Malawi.
“The difference with this school and other schools is this is a Christian school. 
“Most schools ... focus on kids passing exams ... so they should have enough money to run their schools. But here it’s different, because they want people to be spiritually trained as well as physically.
“Most people love to bring their students here so that they should be able to learn and to be disciplined and be the good leaders of tomorrow.”
COTN: Is that why you wanted to work at the International Christian Academy? 
Aness: “It’s partly helping the students follow the right direction, but also appreciating COTN for what they have done in my life.” 
Aness wanted to teach at COTN’s school as a way of saying thanks to her sponsors
Aness (here with one of her students) says she wanted to teach at COTN’s school as a way of saying thank you to everyone who supported her, and as a way of helping children in need like she once was.
COTN: Are there any other reasons why a career in teaching piqued your interest?
Aness: “I’ve always wanted to work with the community. At first I wanted to do social work with people in the villages. But it happened that where I was [attending university in Uganda], there was not that course, and education was there. So I joined education just because I wanted to work with teenagers. Because I remember in Uganda I used to help with a certain school, doing counseling, and it was fun. And I was like, ‘I can also do this in Malawi.’”
Aness is deeply thankful to her sponsors and everyone else who has helped her get to where she is today. Want to help a child so they can have an impact like Aness is having on those around her? Sponsor a child today! 


What a blessing to not only see how God transformed Aness' life but how she is now being used to tranform others' lives! That's what we're talking about!