Age is not a barrier in accessing education for 33 year old Vaidah Chilenga, a wife and mother of five. Mrs. Chilenga joined the literacy circles through PAFs adult education programmes, where she learnt how to read and write. She realized that it was never too late to learn. This was a turning point for Vaidah as she decided to join the formal school system. Since she joined the formal school system she has been the most outstanding pupil at Nega Nega Basic School in Mazabuka. She has challenged her younger counterparts academically, including her own 15 year son who is in the same grade. In 2012 she sat for Grade nine examinations and passed very well beating her own son! It was not easy for Vaidah to pursue her academic endeavors as she was condemned by the community for being too old to go to school seeing that she was now a mother of five. Mr. Chilenga, her husband and a security guard at Nega Nega Clinic decided to support his wife’s determination. He lost some friends as they labeled him as weak for allowing his wife to go back to school and taunted him with the idea of his wife abandoning him for an educated man after completing her studies. The majority of community members laughed at Vaidah and assured her that she was not going to succeed in her education. Best Mwale and Prisca Nyambe Simuzya.
Vaidah’s success in education has brought hope to the adult learners in Nega Nega, leading to an increase in adult learners enrolling in the PAF adult literacy circles. This is a step forward towards development as these people will participate more fully in the development their community, the country and the world at large. Vaidah is currently enrolled in grade 10 at Nanga High School and continues to strive for greater heights. However, she is not the only one who has succeeded: There are others, like 30 year old Best Mwale, and 39 year old Prisca Nyambe Simuzya who have also excelled in education despite their age. Adults who have fallen out of the formal school system , or even ‘never-been to school’, can still pursue their educational ambitions despite of their age, sex, race or social status because in education, it is never too late…all they need is continued support!