Jacaranda School, Malawi
Marie Da Silva
In October 2008, Marie Da Silva was recognized as a Top Ten CNN Hero for her amazing dedication to orphans in Malawi. Though she worked as a nanny in the U.S. for 19 years, Marie was born and raised in Chigumula, Malawi. Growing up, she endured incredible sorrow due to the loss of 15 members of her family to AIDS, including her father and two brothers. Marie knows first-hand the devastating effects of losing loved ones and she strives to be a bright light for young children in need.
In 2002, Marie learned that the school in her hometown was closing, leaving hundreds of children without an education. Unable to stand by and watch the youth of her community be condemned to a life of ignorance, she converted her family home in Chigumula into the Jacaranda School for Orphans—the only entirely free primary and secondary school in Malawi. The bedrooms, living room, pantry, and even the garage became classrooms. For seven years, she spent a third of her monthly income as a nanny on the salaries of the teachers and the meager supplies she could afford. Today, Marie still works part-time as a nanny and spends the rest of her time fundraising and speaking in schools and universities around the world. Read more about Marie and her work with GO Below.