Carrying on the great work

“In those days, I would sometimes go two or even three days without eating. I had no education and no hope as to where I was going to.”

Ellason Musaiwa is reflecting on his early years growing up in Sazola Village, a small farming community in the rural Malawi-Mulanje District of Malawi. Having lost his parents at the age of 8, Ellason lived with his grandmother, but she had very little means to support him. While primary education is free in Malawi, secondary education has to be paid for – something far out of Ellason’s reach.

Life changed for Ellason when he was selected by his village committee to be a beneficiary of a new centre, which had been built by a charity called the European Coalition of Positive People (ECPP). The ECPP, with the support of funds from Re&Act – the independent charity that manages the donations raised from the Children’s Walk – constructed several HIV/AIDS orphan centres in the region. These centres provided orphaned children with a daily meal, school uniform, practical skills training, and the chance of a secondary school education.

It was at one of these centres that Ellason found hope. With a regular meal and the chance of proper secondary education at last, Ellason flourished. Ellason’s results put him among the top five students in his school and everyone at the centre encouraged him to fulfil his potential.

“The backing I received from the staff at the centre was really inspirational for me,” says Ellason. “Joan D'Souza (who was the Director of Operations at ECPP and whose story you can) really opened my eyes and helped me to aim high. She told me ‘Ellason, you can become whatever you want to be.’ It gave me such confidence. She encouraged me to go to university and afterwards, she helped to guide me in my career. She was my ‘mum’ at the centre and I owe her a great deal.”

With Joan’s encouragement ringing in his ears, and supported by funds from the ECPP, Ellason completed a degree in Irrigation Engineering at the University of Malawi. He now works for the Malawian government as the Head of the Irrigation Department in the Zomba District, and also assists the Director of Public Works in key developmental projects, such as the construction of roads, bridges and schools.

Ellason now lives with his wife and two young daughters. He owns two houses that he designed himself and his own car. His is a great success story, but he never forgets where he came from, and is always keen to help others in a similar position. Ellason supports several other disadvantaged children through their education, giving others the hope provided to him by ECPP.

“It was only a fortunate few of us who benefitted from the ECPP centres and it’s our responsibility as Malawians to carry on their great work,” says Ellason. “It’s all about love. If I can do the same for other people as ECPP did for me, then the love grows further.”

Ellason was one of over 3,000 children who were supported through the ECPP centres. Roche’s partnership with ECPP is where the Children’s Walk began. Since then, over 328,000 Roche employees have raised over CHF 22 million in donations for children’s projects around the world

More impact stories

See all stories

This website contains information on products which is targeted to a wide range of audiences and could contain product details or information otherwise not accessible or valid in your country. Please be aware that we do not take any responsibility for accessing such information which may not comply with any legal process, regulation, registration or usage in the country of your origin.

ContactLocationslinkedinfacebooktwitterinstagramyoutubeCovid-19Pharma solutionsRoche careersMedia libraryAnnual Report 2023Privacy policyLegal statement