Four years ago at only 18 years old, Ellen Chilemba '17, an economics major at Mount Holyoke, founded Tiwale, an organization aiming to empower women in Malawi through entrepreneurship to develop sustainable ventures and transform communities. They offered leadership workshops teaching business skills, along with interest-free loans of about $70 to help women get started. Tiwale later added scholarship grants to their program. Scholarships covering school fees, transportation, equipment, and a living stipend are awarded to participants with excellent grades who are interested in continuing their education.
Today, Tiwale continues to expand—they have purchased a plot of land and are now preparing to build their own Women's Center for Education and Entrepreneurship.
In addition to being named one of Forbes Africa's 30 under 30 for 2015, Ellen has also been recognized with the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation Entrepreneurial Award, the Mastercard and Ashoka Future Forward: Youth Innovations for Employment in Africa Award, among others. While Ellen's passion lies in development work, she also has interests in music, sculpture, fashion, and plants.