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Simon Chirwa

Music Program Director, Mangochi, Malawi

I grew up in a Christian family of 5 boys and 2 girls in the northern region of Nkhata Bay District, Malawi. All of us children were hard working and in school, however my parents were not financially well, as such the fees required to educate all 7 of us was really a heavy struggle. My father struggled each time to find money for our education which he managed through small loans through his work. By and by, we all managed to complete secondary education. During my youth, I was a member of the youth choir at my church.

I completed my primary education at Chilomoni primary in 1983 and was then selected to Blantyre Secondary School for for Secondary education from form 1 which I completed in1987. After secondary school I enrolled into accounting course which is equivalent to ACCA Technician between the years of 1990s  to 2000.

In October 1989 I joined the civil service as a Lands and Valuation Assistant where he worked until 199. Later I joined a parastal organisation called Malawi Bureau of Standards where I worked as a Laboratory Assistant from 1991 to 2001, and then switched into an Accounts Assistant/cashier. Later I left the organisation and joined the Small Holder Farmers Organisation for a year and then in 2005 came to Mangochi  where I took a job as an accountant Boadzulu Hotel. I worked there for a year and then resigned the job to start my own business.

In 1996 I married my beautiful bride Siphiwe Manda and we now have two daughters: Busisiwe, now 20 years old is doing I.T  course, and Jita, 12 years old now doing her first year at Mission boarding secondary school.

MY MUSIC PATH 

I started singing in 1971 in a Sunday school choir which later turned into a youth choir. Apart from singing, I attended several music workshops at Chancellor College (University of Malawi) as well as several music workshops organised by my church headquarters. These workshops helped me gain experience in music leading as well as composition, especially the tonic sol-fa. I was appointed Music Director for the entire Mangochi Presbytery in December 2013. I’ve also been a choir master for over 30 years and have led many groups to success in synod-choir competitions.

HOW I GOT INVOLVED WITH RISEUP MALAWI

Hudson Mwale, the in-country Director of RiseUp Malawi approached me to see if I’d be interested teaching music skills to the RUM youths. After being interviewed, I was successful and was offered a job. 

I’m very proud to be one of RUM staff and I look forward to working hard in order to assist RUM achieve its intended goals. I currently teach our youth music mostly in accordance with the objectives of RUM: we use music, song, dance & poetry to talk about the dangers of HIV and Aids, dangers of early marriages, school dropouts and other bad cultural beliefs. Through music I believes we can effectively disseminate important messages across all the vulnerable groups of our community.