With bags (almost) packed and a plane ticket booked for tomorrow afternoon, it’s finally starting to hit me that this stay here in Zambia is coming to an end, for now. But the great thing is that it’s not the end at all. While I’m flying for over 30 hours back to America, our Clothed in Hope women will be continuing their skills training, specifically in pattern-making, to become incredible seamstresses. Our Clothed in Hope women will continue bracelet making for income-generation, to save enough money to launch their own small businesses.
Margret’s grocery that she’s built with her bracelet profits will be opening at the end of this month, providing an income for her entire household of extended family. Carol’s business of making and selling bed sheets has just begun, and she’ll be gaining more customers through her small business and marketing knowledge gained through our program. Carol’s business provides schooling for her kids.
Our Clothed in Hope women will continue traveling to the remote village of Muchochoma to encourage, train, and love their new friends. They call themselves the “Chikondi Club” in the village, women motivated by love and experiencing love through our Ng’ombe women.
Continuation in itself is an incredible word for us. It means that our women have taken ownership of the program to keep it going. They have been empowered and now experience hope, and they can’t help but to share it with others. They understand the effort involved to sustain a program like this, but they’re wiling to make that sacrifice to keep it going. They’ve caught the vision and believe that great change is possible in their communities and nation. They are now community leaders, women of influence, in a culture that tries to keep women believing they are of any worth. When I look among this group of women who have become great friends of mine, I am so, so proud of them.
But what if continuation wasn’t all there was to it? What if I told you that something big is brewing in our program? That the program’s impact won’t stop at the lives of 11 women and their impact circles, but will be affecting hundreds of others? This exciting news is another story for another day, one you’ll have to wait a bit longer for, but today just know this: this is just the beginning.
With Chikondi, Amy