Malawi Regional Programme Coordinator Symon Chibaka caught up with Stella, a former CITW Eco-Mentor and soon-to-be children’s guidance counsellor.
Hi, I am Stella Chiotha. I am 25 years old. I am a proud Malawian and I firmly believe in the positive influence of CITW on its participants. I believe in the change effect of CITW on both mentors and children. I just participated once, in a week-long camp, but was profoundly affected as a participant, particularly in my role as an Eco-Mentor.
When I got involved with the CITW annual camp in 2014 I was very young, but was selected by our youth NGO CHANCE for CHANGE to participate in the role of camp mentor. I was so excited about everything. I found the CITW camp learning environment extremely conducive. I wanted to serve as a mentor but I also wanted to learn about many things.
I wanted to learn about handling children in a camp setting. And I did it.
I wanted to learn about monitoring and assessing children’s learning processes in camp. I did it.
I wanted to learn about the basic ecosystems in Liwonde National Park. I did it.
I wanted to learn about taking photos of children during camp, I was given that opportunity and I did it. I was very taken with the camera and the whole adventure of being in camp, with children in my care.
I expected a lot of learning and a lot of fun with children; I got all of this, way beyond my expectations.
I was particularly amazed at how the children were coordinated, and learned through games. I saw how the confidence of the campers (children) emerged and grew, day by day. I enjoyed being around the children, and appreciated the change and the growth in them.
When my stay and my role in camp came to an end, I was already on a new career path. I still remember telling fellow mentors soon after receiving our mentor’s appreciation certificates that I wanted to study and develop a career in working for children.
The moment I got home, I did not hesitate to register with Africa University. I will soon be graduating as a qualified children’s counsellor. I will be helping children in various areas, and look forward to watching them grow into their desired professions.
I will also keep my hands ready at all times to help with CITW programmes activities.
Stella Chiotha, Africa University