Chief Theresa Kachindamoto of Malawi Receives 2016 Jesse & Helen Kalisher Humanitarian Award

Will Speros • December 29, 2016

Theresa Kachindamoto, chief of the Dedza district in Malawi, has been honored with the 2016 Jesse & Helen Kalisher Humanitarian Award. Kachindamoto is recognized for her steadfast dedication to the fight against child marriage in her country. The Kalishers, whose eponymous company creates and curates artwork for hospitality and corporate industries, launched the award five years ago to acknowledge individuals responsible for making a positive impact on humanity at risk to themselves. Kachindamoto will receive a piece of limited edition photography from the Kalishers as well as a $2,000 donation to cover academic fees for 144 female students.

“Just as education is important to every child, art is important to our progress as a society,” Jesse Kalisher says. “Chief Kachindamoto is making a remarkable statement against child marriage in her country—and, critically, doing something to effect change.”

According to 2012 reports from the United Nations, one in every two girls in Malawi was married before the age of 18. Thanks to the work of Kachindamoto, several hundred customary child marriages have been annulled over the last three years, and she has received commitments to ban future child marriages and annual existing ones.

“I am honored to receive this Humanitarian Award,” says Kachindamoto. “Art plays a critical role in Malawi and in the world, and I appreciate that artists are taking a stand to support what we’re doing here. When artists speak out, the world is a better place. I thank Jesse and Helen for recognizing the importance of giving children the opportunity to be children—to learn, to grow. Thank you for joining me in my commitment to allow the children of Dedza district to do that.”