March 18, 2010
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda (right), Patron of Habitat for Humanity Zambia, greeting the Irish Ambassador to Zambia, Mr. Tony Cotter.
The 10th of March was a successful day for the 2010 Zambia Women Build. In a joyful atmosphere the Habitat for Humanity Zambia team launched this project that will eventually raise enough funds to build houses for at least 320 orphaned and vulnerable children.
The guest of honor at the launch was Mrs. Thandiwe Banda, the First Lady of Zambia, and she was joined by the First Republican President of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who is also Habitat for Humanity Zambia’s Patron. An entourage of minister’s wives also attended the launch, as well as stakeholders from the diplomatic corps, the housing sector, the financial and construction sector, members of the community and the media.
“Mothers safeguard the well-being of our society,” Dr. Kaunda said in his speech at the event. “Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to help the most vulnerable among us and fulfill a great human need, housing.”
Several dignitaries attended the event, among them the Irish Ambassador to Zambia, Mr. Tony Cotter. He emphasized the importance given to the work of NGO’s by the Irish government and how they are pleased to be associated with the work of Habitat for Humanity Zambia. Ireland and Irish Aid has up to date committed a total of €540 667 for a three year project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Ireland to Habitat for Humanity Zambia’s orphaned and vulnerable children program.
“In Ireland, 20% of our total funding goes to the work of NGO’s. We are pleased to be associated with the work of Habitat for Humanity and wish them the best,” he said. The day included three testimonies from community members that have received assistance from Habitat for Humanity Zambia for shelter.
Dorcus Phiri, Beauty Shibulwani and Mama Teresa Kafula all told their stories of hardship without proper shelter and how a home can restore dignity.
“God should help them in their job, because the job they do is big. I am overwhelmed,” Mama Teresa Kafula said after regaling her story of how she looks after her grandchildren and the difficulties she faced before receiving a home.
“I now can come from my own home to events such as these, with dignity and honor,” a tearful Beauty Shibulwani said at the end of her testimony. She was ostracized by the community when she refused to be given as a wife to her deceased husband’s brother and had to live in a tent with her children until she received a home.
Dorcus Phiri told how bedtime used to be a time of fear when she and her sisters and brother still lived in a makeshift tent after her father died and her mother disappeared one day. They would fear intrusion by strangers who would simply cut through the tent to get to the girls. “Now we have a house, and you cannot cut through a house, we are safe,” Dorcus said.
The First Lady made a call to action for everyone to participate in any way they can. “The good news is that change can be affected quite easily if we act on the injustices we see. There is always hope, even in the most desperate situations. We all have control over how we react to the situations that we have been placed in,” the First Lady said.
“I ask all of us to take seriously the Call for Action in partnering with HFH Zambia in alleviating poverty housing. Join a build or donate to build these orphans and vulnerable children decent homes.”
From the launch event there has already been numerous pledges of support which will help in raising the $500 000 needed.
For more news on the event visit the Habitat for Humanity Zambia website .