“My passion for community work has paid off,” says Esther, a 51-year-old mother of four.
Esther, a widow, joined ABM’s Integrated Gender Project (implemented by partner ZACOP) in 2019 when she became a member of the Gender Action Group (GAG) in her community in Petauke, Eastern Zambia.
“My journey into community service started when I saw how most women suffered at the hands of men. I started off as a community health volunteer to keep myself busy and help my community members with health problems by giving a hand to the staff at the hospital. But it was from the hospital that I realized that a number of women were facing various gender-related challenges that they could not report to any relevant authority due to cultural barriers.”
“When ZACOP introduced the project in Petauke Boma, I offered myself to be trained as part of the Gender Action Group so that I could formally take action by helping poor members of my community. I was later trained in savings after a lot of skepticism. I then formed a group of 5 women who started putting their money together. We call ourselves the Tisasiyane savings group. After sharing out our group savings, I realized I could do more if the group was bigger. It was then that I invited more women to join the group. We now have two groups that I support by conducting regular trainings in savings and other topics”.
Esther is very determined. She has been able to start a business of molding and selling bricks that people use to construct houses. The proceeds from the sale of bricks are invested in a shop, currently under construction, that she hopes will be her family business.
Esther has been helping her community members seek legal advice by referring them to Petauke Victim Support Unit of the Zambia Police if they have experienced Gender-based violence. She offers escorted referrals to ensure that the cases are properly concluded. She says, “I also provide counselling to the women before referring them so that they understand the full extent of the problem”.
Esther’s passion for community work has paid off, both for herself and for the many women she has assisted through her work in the Action Group and through the savings groups.
ABM would like to thank Esther for sharing her story. We would also like to thank ABM’s supporters, and our partner, Zambia Anglican Council Outreach Programme (ZACOP).
ABM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).