Emma Leering

Offering women the chance to learn conversational English is a lifeline for some in Malawi; something International Development student, Emma Leering realised when volunteering in the African country, Malawi in 2014.

Emma spent 12 months as a primary school teacher at a rural primary school in Malawi, when she first came up with the idea of setting up a school to help the village women to learn English: “While I was a volunteer teacher in the Bolera Palms School, I soon realised that supporting the children to have the best possible life chances was only one small part of the way I could help the people of Malawi." 

After a year, Emma returned to the University of Northampton to start her studies, leaving the women’s school under the charge of Patuma, who had been teaching the women alongside Emma, and Stelia one of the first women to be taught at the school. 

Since she first launched United Amayi, the venture has given many women in the Bolera region of Malawi the opportunity to learn conversational English. These women have now gone on to gain employment and create sustainable income for them and their families; with women now selling their own farm produces and working within local hotel resorts.

Emma’s now working with the University of Northampton’s Changemaker Hub team to develop her business plan and secure sustainable funding to safeguard the future of the women’s school, and the women it helps. Talking about the future, Emma said: “The help of the University’s Changemaker Hub team has been invaluable; they’ve helped me take my social enterprise idea, from an idea running on a basic business model, to an expanding venture, with a clear plan for the future. I’m so excited to see how the venture and the women can grow together over the next few years.”

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