Angela Malik, founder of the Kondwa Day Center in Zambia, was concerned for the well being of the widowed mothers whose children did not qualify for admission to the Kondwa Day Center and took it upon herself to do something about it. She helped organize a women’s support group who meets periodically to learn and share about effective parenting skills and ideas on how to support their families needs. Together, they pursue various small business ventures like basket making, sewing, tie-dye and batik printing, and other crafts. They share profits and losses, always reinvesting a portion into the business.
Although the immediate needs of the women are economic, they will tell you they gather for the spirit of oneness. They acknowledge that they do get lonely and appreciate being with women who share similar burdens. They call themselves Empowering Women in Development and their group currently numbers twenty-three.
EWD shares a small cinder block building with the Assisi Day School for children with special needs. They meet together on Tuesday afternoons and Saturdays to work on crafts which they sell and then share the proceeds. The merchandise available during TCF’s Summer 2007 visit included beaded necklaces and bangles, tie-dyed and batik cloth in four-meter segments, beaded net table coverings, rag rugs, and coasters in the national colors of green, red, gold and black.
The primary source of income at this time, however, comes from two portable knitting machines. They are simple structures about four feet long, sit on a table and appear to be lightweight.
One was provided through the Temwani Children’s Foundation and the second from another donor. One of the women received training on the machine from another agency and taught a second widow how to use it. They can each turn out five school sweaters a day.
Sweaters (paid for by a donor to Kondwa Day Center) were made for all 90 Kondwa Day Center children during the Summer 2007 visit. At that time it was winter in Zambia, which lies just south of the equator, and sweaters were definitely in season. The sweaters included the child’s first name on the front and the words Kondwa Center on the back. The names are there in order to identify the owner when the sweaters are tossed into a stack during recess! EWD also makes bright maroon sweaters for children from Ngombe Basic School, the result of having a good relationship with the School Manager who refers guardians to EWD. They have also made samples of vests for government workers and are hopeful to generate orders as a result.