Zambia: Hearing the Silent Cry of a Widow
This month our country of focus is Zambia, where World Vision’s Strong Women, Strong World initiative includes Zambia’s Empowerment, Respect and Equality (ERE) program providing small grants to get women started in small businesses or agricultural enterprises. As a result, they can earn enough income to feed their families and to continue their education. The following story was contributed by Collins Kaumba, World Vision Zambia.
Emily is a widow. She lost her husband in 2007 and soon after, her husband’s relatives took the land she was living on, leaving her and her three children in desperate conditions. She reflects on that time saying, “I thought I would never smile again.”
Not long after, a miracle happened. World Vision introduced her to Harmos, a micro loan program. Emily joined a savings group with ten others and with her first loan of $70 began a fish selling business. She paid back the loan and with the profits was able to buy a sewing machine and materials.
Over the years, Emily’s business has grown and has continued to reap greater benefits. She has added a vegetable garden and through the sale of maize (corn) she has been able to pay school fees and ensure that her children do not go hungry.
Because of her success, two of her children are planning to attend college, Steven to become a teacher and Faith to become a nurse. Her other daughter Moonga is helping her run the family business. Emily has paid back four loans and applied for another loan amounting to $900. “What makes me so happy is my tears have turned into joy since I started to benefit from the loans,” she proudly says. Emily wants to build a five roomed house for her children. She has already given the church the job of molding bricks. Also she plans to buy a deep freezer fridge for her fish business because currently she rents the fridge she is using.
Emily does not want to benefit and smile alone; she has taken an initiative to encourage others to join and benefit from Harmos. “From those I have encouraged, about 10 of them have already joined and are benefiting from the loans.”
“God hears prayers and solves them. He has done it for me. Without Harmos I would be dead by now as a result things would have been much more complicated for my children. Their education would have ended and they would have become beggars,” says Emily. “This is why I encourage widows that even if their husbands are gone, that does not mean the end of the road in their lives; it is an opportunity for them to prove their faith in God and to look at what God is pointing at as a means to redeem themselves from anguish,” she says confidently.
“I thank God who showed me Harmos that I am able to stand on my own now, otherwise I would have been devastated. The only thing I miss now is my husband’s love,” she declares.
Read more Strong Women, Strong World stories!