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Women’s Enrichment Weekend Held in Eastern Zambia

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Women’s Enrichment Weekend Held in Eastern Zambia

The 25 participants came from Ngilile, Chiwoko and Chipata. Attendance was deliberately kept down in conformity with local COVID-19 restrictions. The women were welcomed on the first evening by organizer Chosiwe Shanzi Jere, who thanked the participants for their keenness to attend and encouraged them to learn and share their own experiences. She reminded the ladies to exhibit love and unity in whatever they said and did throughout the event and to continue doing so upon their return home. 

Later that day, the pastor spoke on the women’s importance as wives, mothers and caregivers with the unique ability to help transform men into husbands, houses into homes and children into godly people. To be discarded, he said, was the deeply ingrained belief among many African communities that women are inferior to men. He also explained the importance of women in the Church.

In addition to regular sessions of learning, sharing, Bible study and early morning physical exercises, there were two special sessions. The first was a serious health talk on HIV and AIDS given by Ms. Ruth Jere, a widow who had contracted the disease from her husband. 

After her husband’s death, Ruth had lived for 19 years in a hostile environment of social stigma and rejection, which kills many sufferers. But because of her stamina, many international organizations had adopted her as their ambassador on matters of health, human rights and gender-based violence. 

Ruth also taught the women about cervical cancer and encouraged participants to get regular testing to know their status on both HIV and cervical cancer.

Another interesting talk was on human rights and gender-based violence where women were often the victims. Mr. Banda, an officer from the Victim Support Unit of the Police Department, dwelled extensively on human rights relevant to women and discussed various forms of gender-based violence and how to deal with it. The women appreciated these lessons and took notes.

On the second day, Chosiwe distributed two-meter cloths to the participants. This same type of cloth was acquired and distributed to women in other parts of the country during the Women’s Enrichment Weekend happening at the same time near Isoka (included in the Sept.-Oct. 2020 issue of United News). Though not a church uniform, Chosiwe explained that wearing the cloth was a way to evangelize about the gospel and identify the women as members of the Church. Color was added to the congregation that met for the Sabbath the following day.

Before departure on Sunday, food packs were distributed to families from distant areas. Each food pack was comprised of soy relish, vegetable oil and salt.

In an environment where UCG has often been regarded as a religious oddity, this event gave the participants courage to boldly proclaim to other people in their own communities the truths that have been pushed aside and ignored by others.

The Women’s Enrichment Weekend was a great success in Chipata and could never have taken place without the assistance from loving members of the Church and LifeNets. To these, thanks are extended.

Chosiwe Jere