Graduation Day

This past Saturday was International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate than to have a graduation ceremony for our first group of women to take part in our skills training program? It was truly the best day.

We’ve known this group of ladies almost two years now, and are so grateful to witness their growth into confident, talented, hope-filled designers, seamstresses, mamas, friends, and community leaders. They all started out threading needles in one room of Elina’s home, and now are making dresses without patterns for personal clients in their communities. These women are empowered. They have bettered their families through the education they’ve taken to heart and the skills they’ve sharpened.

And we could not be prouder of each of the 9 women who received certificates at our skills training program.

Each of these women have pushed beyond hardship and oppression to hold onto hope, and are now being launched into their communities to share that hope with others. They are equipped for success and we cannot wait to see how the next chapter unfolds. They will still have a home at our Chikondi Community Center, able to use our facilities for their personal businesses and take part in our income-generating projects. But now these women are the leaders, the vision-casters, the teachers, the entrepreneurs.

We wanted to share a part of the speech which was given at our graduation ceremony, specifically to the first graduating class of Clothed in Hope, but also to the two other training classes and Muchochoma Village ladies who came to support their friends and mentors.

“Statistics show that when you empower a woman, you empower her village, her family, her community, her nation, and even future generations.

You hold the key to restoring the dignity and rights of women in this nation. You are a world changer. Your life matters greatly.

The question now- what will you choose to do with that key?

I believe in you. God believes in you. You are capable of great things with the knowledge and hope you now hold. We are so proud of each and every one of you. Instead of saying goodbye, this is just the beginning. And we cannot wait to see what is next for each of you.”

It was a beautiful day of reflecting back to all the hard work and sacrifice given by this first graduating class, celebrating its payoff and their great accomplishments.

Our legs are sore from dancing, our cheeks burning from smiles and laughter, and our hearts bursting with gratitude and joy.

Enjoy some photos from the big day:

(No, we didn't miss-count... Margret, the mama to newborn twins, also graduated but was unable to make it to the ceremony)

Thank you, donors, for impacting the lives of 9 women to gain the empowerment, confidence, and dignity that comes with learning a valuable skill in this culture. Thank you for giving HOPE. Thank you for helping us to write new stories.

We NEED you to join us to enable us to continue our training classes throughout 2014 and for years to come. Our dream is to graduate dozens, hundreds more from our program, launching them to be a force of hope in their communities. But we can’t do it without you. Without the commitments of monthly donations, we don’t know how many more training classes we can provide. So give today. Don’t let the joy end here. We wouldn’t be asking if we didn’t urgently need you to be a part of what we’re doing here in Zambia. Give here and be blessed: and select a monthly giving amount at the bottom to join us in giving hope.

With Chikondi and Joy, Amy