November 15, 2021
Despite only having one dress and pair of shoes as a child, Dalisey Brooks has always had an eye for fashion. Now the head of a blossoming clothing company, Dalisey is accomplishing her dreams through her education at BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
Opportunity away from home
Dalisey was raised in Malawi (in East Africa) as the oldest of three girls. Later, she received the opportunity to go to England with her uncle and began attending Filton (now South Gloucestershire and Stroud) College. Though she knew it was important, Dalisey and education didn’t “get along”; she struggled to get through classes and maintain her grades.
Her uncle’s family eventually moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The plan for her to join them was cut short when her uncle died during a visit to Malawi.
“When he passed away, it felt like my future was over,” she said.
Making her way back to her dream
Not knowing where to go, Dalisey moved to South Africa to support herself and her family. For more than 10 years, Dalisey worked her way up from a salesperson to a sales manager, then to an administrative position as an area manager, where she trained staff and managed sales reports.
“All these roles, I did them because I felt comfortable, but deep down I knew that I wasn’t really happy,” she said. “They were not really good paying jobs. I also knew that I was meant to be something — someone who’d be able to help others.”
This desire fueled Dalisey’s dream of running her own company.
Brought to BYU-Pathway
While living in Capetown, South Africa, Dalisey heard about BYU-Pathway through a friend whose brother was living in Johannesburg, where the nearest BYU-Pathway gathering was at the time.
She started BYU-Pathway’s foundational courses (PathwayConnect) in 2017 and continued every semester after that. Dalisey graduated with an online degree from BYU-Idaho in business management in July 2021, starting with a business administration certificate.
Dalisey said, “I never thought for one second that I would go back to school. I closed that door a long time ago; but I knew deep down that something had to change, and BYU-Pathway has been that change.”
The secret is putting God first
Education brought different challenges for Dalisey, from literally being homeless without a way to pay for school, to having her mother in the hospital; but through it all, she persisted.
“There was a time when it was either ‘pay for tithing’ or ‘pay for food or school,’” she said. “I relied on the Lord, and He made a way for me. Heavenly Father won’t give me something He knows won’t be beneficial for me. He pushes the limits to see how far I trust that He will take care of the situation or the problem…. The secret is always putting God first, because the reality is, God makes all things possible.”
While taking BYU-Pathway courses, Dalisey was introduced to the Church’s self-reliance program, which helped her start a now-burgeoning online women’s handmade sandal and clothing store called Chipantha, named after her grandfather.
She wakes up at 4:00 a.m. in order to complete her school assignments and work for her company. Her goal is to get her master’s degree someday to better run Chipantha, but the skills she already gained through her business administration certificate helped her keep the business alive during the worldwide pandemic.
“I was able to gain customer service skills, and that helped me progress in the South Africa retail environment.” She continued, “My certificate also helped me take care of a business on my own and learn IT skills to understand technology in an office environment.”
Persistence in the pursuit of progress
As she has participated in BYU-Pathway, Dalisey’s love for education has grown. She said, “I wish everyone would just go to BYU-Pathway. You learn so much, and the fact that I love most is that education, temporal, and spiritual things are intertwined.”
Dalisey’s growing success has come from a combination of her willingness to pursue education and her persistence in the face of trial: “I strongly believe anything can be accomplished; we only have to want to do it.”