In Eastern Province, in the central African country of Zambia, Dinah (not her real name) is a survivor of gender-based violence.
Now 59, Dinah says she lived like a slave during her marriage. Her husband was physically and emotionally abusive. In her mid-40s, Dinah was granted a divorce. She returned to her parents’ home with three children to look after, and no resources with which to begin her life again.
Rather than relying solely on her now aged parents, Dinah requested a piece of land from the local village leadership so that she could become independent. The land was granted, but life was difficult for her as she lacked the resources to farm it properly.
Then, three years ago she joined a group of 20 women entrepreneurs that had formed as part of ABM’s Anglicans in Development (AID) Gender Equality Project.
Dinah began to receive lessons in entrepreneurship through the project.
“I took a keen interest in this group because I had a bit of formal education, which helped me apply what I was learning from the project”, she said.
When the project provided their group a grant of ZMW4,000 (AUD320), the money was shared equally among group members. Dinah vividly recalls how she felt when she got her share of money. With a huge smile on her face, she said, “I felt like my prayers had been answered. I went home and carefully planned how I would utilise the money to uplift my living standards. I also now needed to take care of my aged parents.”
Dinah managed to buy 30 chickens and later obtained a loan from the group, which she used to purchase a barber machine, a hair dryer and blower. This enabled her to set up a hair salon and barber shop in her home.
The Gender Equality Project, implemented by the Anglican Church in Zambia, helps women rebuild their lives following domestic violence. It offers counselling support, referrals to police and support agencies and provides widespread community awareness raising about women’s empowerment and ending violence against women.
The project has created a network of male advocates against gender-based violence and provides counselling to men and children as well. It works with traditional leaders, the churches, families and schools to end child marriage and return girls to school, some with their babies, to continue their education. The project has also advocated successfully to return young boys to school when they have been forced to take care of farm animals during school hours.
You can support AID’s appeal by donating via the Anglican Board of Mission website.
By supporting this appeal, you will be giving a gift of hope.
Editor’s note: If you are in immediate danger, call 000 for police or ambulance help. For a list of helplines and websites available to women, children and men, visit this page on the Queensland Government website.Jump to next article