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Special Project

Special Project
From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Let It Shine

Finalist in Developing Nations


Yamba Malawi’s mission is to uplift vulnerable children by empowering communities to break the cycle of poverty and invest in their children. Working in some of the poorest communities in the world, we have developed a holistic, nuanced, and child-focused poverty graduation program that combines childhood wellbeing, entrepreneurship, and financial inclusion to ensure children’s immediate and long-term needs are met. 

We are proud to say—it’s working. Each year, communities are transforming the lives of over 35,000 children in their care.

Yamba Malawi strives to amplify the stories of our hardworking community partners. We aim to honor their experiences, their transformations, and the universality of what we are all working towards—ensuring all children have the happy, healthy childhoods they deserve. To do so, in 2019, we created Let It Shine to jointly premier at our annual Gala and on Instagram/Facebook for a night of celebration and fundraising that would allow us to grow the impact of our programs. Having met the Sithawika family a few years earlier, we knew we wanted to represent the amazing transformation led by Esther, mother of three, as she fought for her children’s futures. We wanted to highlight the perseverance, the challenges, the successes, and the impact of her commitment as a mother, and to show a journey through time that now has a happy new beginning, not an ending, thanks to her hard work. In doing so, we aim to highlight the transformative power that one person, one action, one donation can have. 

Strategy and Execution

During Let It Shine pre-production, we established guidelines that represent our values and commitment to a collaborative and ethical storytelling process, all of which contribute to a unique, ethical film highlighting our impact:

As a result, Let It Shine presents a well-developed, emotional narrative that honors the amazing Sithawika family and engages with a wide range of audiences. It speaks to universality while celebrating exceptionality, and most of all—it makes people feel. 


Let It Shine was incredibly successful in conveying the importance of our work. Immediately after its premier, Esther Sithawika addressed supporters through a short speech at our annual gala. The result was incredible—not only did it reinforce the power of the film, but we raised $1m to support our programmatic expansion into new communities, including a surprise $100,000 gift from a donor who explicitly shared he was moved by the film. Since then, multiple nonprofits have asked Yamba Malawi for advice and support in their own storytelling processes, and we have received recognition for our uniquely dignifying and collaborative approach.

Most importantly, however, in the months after the premier, our team was able to return to the entire Sithawika family to share the finalized version of the film. The experience was incredible—the pride the family showed radiated throughout the room, and all of our hard work was validated by their emotional response. Esther said, “Thank you, this film reminds me of holding Chimwemwe as a baby. It feels like I am watching my life all over again.” as she pretended to be holding her baby once again. As they shared with family and friends, it was clear that we were successful in building bridges through this approach to storytelling, and we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to highlight the story of such a special family.


Video for Let It Shine

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Yamba Malawi & Cliff Co.


Entry Credits