Family and education background
I, Samuel Mkomera was born on 10th August, 1993 at Chipembere village in Kasungu district. We are eight in our family and am the third child. My father is an architect and my mother runs farming and some small family businesses.
I did primary education at Chiphaso Boys primary school and secondary education at Chayamba secondary school in Kasungu district. In 2012, I passed Malawi School Certificate Examination. However, I wasn’t satisfied with the results as compared to my class performance hence I decided to re-sit on the following academic year. I did it in 2013 at El-Shaddai Private Secondary School and the results at this point made up my satisfaction. On 10th October 2021, I got married to Jean Fologonya. Thanks to 500 miles for the support they gave us during our wedding.
My dream was to pursue any health related course at one of Malawian Universities but it was difficult due to high competition in the public universities and father couldn’t afford to pay for the private universities as the tuition is too expensive. Then after, I just decided to do a short course of Electrical Engineering while waiting for other opportunities to open up.
My career and goals
I joined 500 miles as a Prosthetics and Orthotics Technician (bench worker) in December, 2014. I was totally impressed after seeing how we were helping persons with disabilities to be independent. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw for the first time an amputee walking without any walking aid and with almost exact gait like a non-amputee. I remember talking to myself “this is my life career’’. However, being a technician, chances of participating in decision making were limited. My goal was to be one of the decision makers to any challenging case to the patients. In order to be more reliable in helping the patients and contribute fully to the team, more professional knowledge was needed.
In 2016, my life career became true. I got a precious opportunity to be the second Malawian to study Prosthetics and Orthotics in Cambodia. I joined Cambodian school of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO) in March 2017. CSPO provides a 3-years training program for students from Cambodia and other low income countries including Malawi to be qualified professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics. In addition, we had an opportunity to train leadership, management, research and innovations.
Click here for an account of Samuel’s time at CSPO, written in early 2020
I graduated at CSPO in February, 2020 and I have now worked for two years as a professional Prosthetist and Orthotist at 500Miles Prosthetics and Orthotics Center at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi. During this time, I have gained a lot of experience. After working for one year I was given a new role to work as an assistant manager. The new role assisted me to learn and expose my management and communication skills including Data entering and statistics. I had also a chance to learn filming techniques when I was involved in taking video clips of Big Dinner2. I am happy that am able to participate fully in decision making and able to use management, research and innovation knowledge to implement new ideas in ensuring quality management system.
Thanks to 500 miles for giving me a second precious opportunity to study for a Bachelors degree in prosthetics and orthotics at Sirindhorn School of Prosthetics and Orthotics at Mahidol University. I started the two-year residential course in August 2022. I am enjoying being in Thailand and expanding my knowledge and skills, all of which will help me to achieve my goals of bringing more innovations to prosthetics and orthotics in Malawi and carrying out research to ensure we are providing high functional and quality devices to the patients from the materials that are readily available.
I enjoy travelling, exploring new environments and nature. I also enjoy Social interaction through dining together with my friends and participating in some sport activities like gymnastics, Badminton and table tennis.