I AM ZAMBIAN, I AM WOMAN, I AM HUMAN.
Zambia has a population of 14,638,505 of which about 50.08 percent are women. Most of these women will be forced into early marriage My name is Chipo Hildah Mutale I am a 23 year old Zambian lady and the highest qualification I have is a grade twelve certificate. I work as a receptionist at a lodge. I did not see myself where I am today 10 years ago. 10 years ago I saw myself as a lawyer today, walking into a courtroom and changing lives, bringing justice to those that needed it, I saw myself on the path to be an influential woman, to have other young women look up to me and bring change to my community and country, I would further my studies into political law and be the first female president of Zambia, yes I was a very ambitious child and at the time it was all possible as I was privileged, living in a foreign country as my father worked in foreign service he would afford or find an opportunity for me to go to Harvard law, it was all possible at the time. Little did I know that the simple tragedy and loss of my parents would divert my dream. With the right tools opportunity and platform I want to ensure that my story does not become another girl’s story.
That is part of my story and it is not the end. When I look back at my life I am simply grateful of the opportunity I had as it opened my eyes and exposed me to the outside world. I had the opportunity to meet people from different walks of life and learn different cultures most of all to see how more privileged they are and want to be part of the change to bring the privilege back home. My story is similar to many young Zambian ladies and woman who may want or may have wanted but did not have the opportunity to make something of their lives. It starts from our homes and families, to our families and communities the education and empowerment of the girl child is not important because she will get married and move away to her husband’s home educated or not. If she does not fall prey to early pregnancy and focus on raising her child. I want to stand for young girls and women to speak with families in our communities to empower the girl child.
I believe that for this trait to end it needs team work. We need to change the mindset that society has towards the girl child and build a generation of girls motivated to finish school and make a living by their own achievements. My dream is to see every woman put their talents to work. The empowerment we need is for women to realize their talents. We need homes mothers and fathers that encourage the girl child to discover her gifts and talent. Most children show their interests when they were young. When I was young my mother wanted me to be doctor and she bought me medical toys, I did not feel there was a doctor in me, but I loved to ask questions and investigate on matters I loved history and politics, one day my father told me I was going to be a lawyer and just then I found the career that was hidden within me my father had seen it in me. We need parents who will pay attentions to the girl child and see what her interests are and encourage and build her.
I completed my high school education without ever meeting with a career guidance counselor, our schools do not have career guidance counselors, we do not have educational field trips or career match, interns and opportunities to help us figure out our passion and purpose. We need schools that want to create leaders and CEO’s, inventers and discoverers. We do not have extracurricular activities in our schools, the sports, the arts and crafts, swimming, sewing, cooking, etc. those that do are not taken seriously. Our teachers and schools have no interest of what becomes of us after school. We hinder the talents of fashion designers, doctors, entrepreneurs, scientist, leaders, presidents etc. I hope to sit on our education boards and Ngo’s and implement policies to ensure the girl child is guided to her dream.
Our communities do not have recreation activity centers and empowerment funds. I wish to work with the government to build recreation facilities and training centers to empower women and girls in our society.
Our government needs to give opportunities to empower women both young and old, it is never too late to succeed in life. We need scholarship opportunities set for women especially for the under privileged. The government needs to put strict measures against child marriages and send educators to educate the young girls and encourage them ti finish school or use their skills to help them empower themselves and other girls around them. If given a platform I would help find donors and rally for funding to help less privileged girls.
I want to see a Zambia with a female president as she is the mother of the nation, with more female doctors, scientists, leaders, more women in parliament and government implementing policies and regulations as they so well do in our homes. I want to see more women owning businesses and companies, running the economy as once we empower the girl child we empower the future. We need to build a Zambia by protecting the girl child, she is the future, she created this generation, she is our mother and sister, our wife and friend. As a Zambian woman I wish to see change in myself and the Zambian people it starts with me, it starts with you, it starts with us, we can make the change we can change our mind.For the Zambian woman stand up for your future, our future, their future. I am Zambian, I am Woman and I am Human.