Living in Zambia through the eyes of a Zambian

woman wearing white t shirt and blue denim bottoms
Zambian woman with child.

Today most of  Zambia’s population is affected by extreme Levels of poverty despite being ranked ninth (9 ) in the World in terms of having rich copper deposits.  The majority of people, especially women and children, are living below the poverty line. International organizations like the United Nations have verified these findings and continue to do so. 

Subsequently, the poverty in Zambia has drastically affected the health of Zambians, especially women and children. Most women die during childbirth because of a lack of health facilities. During the antenatal visit, poor pregnant women are requested to provide their own stuff, such as maternity pads, cotton wool, methylated spirit, bleach, gloves, buckets, along with many other items.

 I have witnessed this as I have assisted women with these requirements in my individual capacity. 

This, of course, means these items have to be procured from pharmacy stores that have proven expensive for poor people.

Furthermore, I would like to state that my major interest is writing about my experiences with young girls and women in and from around Africa, especially Zambia, my country.

Amongst the many concerns I would like to share is how women and young girls in Africa are dominated by their husbands in marriages. This is more pronounced in those living in rural areas. 

 Most women are deprived of opportunities such as education and career choice. This is aside from the major cancer of early marriages amongst young girls whose future has been destroyed by the reason of dropping out of school in preference to marriage. 

It’s so sad here in Zambia as very young girls are still being given into marriage by their parents or Guardians. Girls as young as 13 years are but one of the heartbreaking situations that have ruined great potentials and destinies of so many girls with great minds who, if they were given an opportunity to access quality education, would have contributed hugely to the development of their respective communities and country at large. 

Additionally, the issue of street kids has, over the years, spiraled out of control. Many of the affected kids come from very poor families who can’t afford to send them to school, let alone feed or clothe them. The few who are lucky, unfortunately, cannot continue and eventually drop out of school owing to a lack of a consistent sponsorship. The result is that all these kids turn to the streets to ask for alms in a bid to help feed their families.  This further leads to high levels of crime as most of these kids are forced to engage in bad vices such as drug abuse, stealing, rape, and robbery just to find ways to survive. This is a very major concern, too, and my heart bleeds as most governments don’t have plans or resources to sort out this problem.

The said kids are future generations, and hence, I have taken it upon myself to ensure that i contribute to giving them a foundation to build and develop their lives.  

It is very clear that this problem, if not sorted, serves as a ticking time bomb with long-term, devastating effects on our community, society, and country as a whole. 

Zambia is a developing country, and as such, most people are still in extreme poverty. Being an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, I am not looking or asking for recognition from anyone. But to render help where I can is my major motivation.  So far,  I have helped so many school dropout girls in some local communities in just my small individual capacity as I owe what I do to God almighty.

Another issue is that people are broken everywhere, women and girls especially.  We have a lot of suicide cases owing to many factors; for example, I recently learned through my mother of a case of one of the girls in her area who committed suicide after she failed year 9 examinations.  When one looks critically and analyses situations like this, one considers that it could be attributed to a lack of emotional support for such girls hence my resolve to advocate for young girls and women.

Many women here in Zambia are stuck in abusive marriages as they have nowhere to go, and unfortunately, most of them have no formal education, which makes it harder for them as they still can’t get a decent job to look after themselves.  This is the reason we need to spread our wings wider in promoting women’s empowerment. 

Admittedly, we have a number of charitable organizations dotted around the country, but the situation is overwhelming, and I thought I could also contribute to lessening or altogether solving the predicaments that young girls and women are facing in my country. 

It, therefore, follows that given the above motivation and prevailing situations in my country and around Africa, I was prompted to look for women organizations that I can partner with to sincerely reach out to as many women and girls as we possibly can in a bid to offer genuine and heartfelt help they so badly need.

-Barbara M.

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