Change The Story

Together our collective actions will create real impact in the world.
Thank you for being a changemaker.


Vital Voices

  • Vital Voices partners with courageous women leaders on the front lines of change.
  • Your donation empowers innovative female leaders to improve their communities and the world beyond.


  • CARE puts women and girls at the center of their mission, working to defeat poverty and achieve social justice around the globe.
  • Your donation helps women build better lives for themselves and send children back to school.

Let There Be Light International

  • Let There Be Light International's mission is to combat energy poverty in vulnerable off-grid communities and to fight global climate change.
  • Your donation sends solar lights to children living off-grid in extreme poverty to help them continue their studies at night.

Chief Kachindamoto

What is the meaning of your name?

It was a question that we, the production team, had been wondering. Before we began the process of finding our cast of local villagers for the film*, we had a chance to sit down with Senior Chief Theresa Kachindamoto in her office located in a small outbuilding near her home. Notebooks full of handwritten notes stacked her desk along with folders filled with official documentation on regional law. School supplies from donors were piled in a corner, ready to refill empty classrooms, and a few boxes of solar lights from Let There Be Light International were prepped to distribute to the most needy in the community. The back of her wooden chair splayed out in carved eagle wings behind her head. She was adorned in one of her usual animal print dresses and traditional beaded jewelry hanging from her arms and neck, her forehead bedecked with a circular beaded headpiece. The Chief gave us her gentle smile and shifted her eyes before saying softly,

My name means, don’t mess with fire.


This name may seem at odds for a woman who embraces visitors with open hugs and insists on feeding them a meal before talking business. However, this is also a woman who, when called into a position of power, made it her life mission, despite fierce opposition, to end child marriage in Malawi, hence the title of the film, Freed by Fire.


Kachindamoto was happily working at a city college in southern Malawi when she receive the call to return home to Dedza and become the next chief. Hailing from a family of chiefs and the youngest of twelve, and now mother to her own 5 children,

Kachindamoto never imagined, nor did she initially want to become chief.

When she returned home, Kachindamoto came across a young girl trying to comfort a screaming baby. She told the girl to find the mother of the child to help calm the baby, but the girl replied that it was her own child. When asked where the father was, the girl pointed to a boy nearby who was equally as young as the girl. From then on, she continued to noticed the countless number of children with adolescent parents and knew the first issue she would stand for would be to end child marriage.


Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world with immense development challenges. One out of every two girls are married off before the age of eighteen, many as early as twelve. This practice is not only detrimental to young girls and boys but also hinders the social and economic progress of the country. It is a tremendous challenge to tackle and Kachindamoto knew she would have to start changing beliefs and traditions from the inside.


She began by educating parents, children, and the wider community on the benefits of education and staying in school. She then turned to the local sub-chiefs in her district. These chiefs need to grant permission for marriages taking place in their villages so Kachindamoto called 50 sub-chiefs together to sign an agreement to end child marriage in their jurisdiction. Kachindamoto enforced the agreement by removing chiefs from their positions when they did not comply and annulling child marriages that had already taken place.

During this time she received many threats, faced actual roadblocks, as well as intense opposition from leaders and community members who did not agree with changing this age-old practice. She remained steadfast in her mission and created a network of “secret mothers” (women from villages spread over her district) who would report to her if they saw any child marriages or adolescents with babies. She also set-up a fund to support children going back to school.


In 2017, Vital Voices who identifies and invests in outstanding women leaders around the world, awarded Chief Kachindamoto the Leadership in Public Life Award. She continues to make huge strides in ending child marriage and has become a powerful inspiration across the world.

* The choice was made to cast all local villagers who know and have seen the issue of child marriage first hand.




The Agoraphobic Traveller

Agoraphobia and anxiety limit my ability to travel, so I've found another way to see the world.

See Story

Add Impact to your Inbox

Be the first to receive new stories and learn about how you can be a changemaker for important causes.

* indicates required