International Women’s Day is a Zambian public holiday. It is a time to applaud the achievements of women and work towards forging an equal world for all. On March 8th, Livingstone joins with the rest of the world in celebrating women’s economic, cultural, political, and social achievements.
The following are just a small selection of the inspirational women in Livingstone striving to make a difference every day. We know that there are so many more women that should be commended, and we look forward to continuing to showcase their stories to the world.
Lungowe Sikwibele – Livingstone Ladies Circle
Lungowe is the current Chairlady for the Ladies Circle International, Ladies That Thunder Zambian Chapter 8. The Ladies Circle was founded in 1932 as a social networking group for women between 18 and 45 years of age. The Livingstone chapter was chartered in 2017 with a core group of women with a strong commitment to their community.
In years past, the local chapter of Ladies Circle has built ablution blocks for Kamatanda Community School and donated books to their library. Currently, they are working tirelessly to secure funds to revamp the kitchen at The Maramba Old People’s Home. These dynamic women also donate feminine hygiene products to vulnerable women and sponsor kids from primary through secondary school.
Iris Nikolaisen – WAYAWAYA
WAYAWAYA translates as ‘the art of wasting time’ and is a luxury leather accessories company with a vital social mission. At its core WAYAWAYA embraces the art of ‘slow fashion’, creating meaningful fashion pieces that stand the test of time while connecting to greater social awareness. The vision behind WAYAWAYA is the brainchild of its founder, Iris Nikolaisen, who fuses Norwegian and Zambian cultures to inspire the design and functionality of each bag.
Women empowerment is the backbone of the company, and WAYAWAYA’s focus is the investment in the long-term development of artisanal leathercraft skills for meaningful job creation. The tight-knit team of Zambian women has undergone extensive training to get the ladies where they are today and will be armed with these skills for life. WAYAWAYA products are shipped all over the world and available through their online shop.
Rachael Walker – Pure Skills
After years of working with volunteer organizations in Livingstone, Rachael Walker saw a need for providing Livingstonians with the skills and tools to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs. In 2017, Pure Skills was born. The NGO focuses on combining these skills with an opportunity to upcycle and provide creative zero waste marketplaces.
The Pure Skills Women’s Club was started in 2017 and is a group of women that share their knowledge and skills to create income-generating opportunities. From budgeting to crafting, these women cohesively work together on projects including tie and dye, basket weaving, croqueting, soap making, and macramé that are then sold. We don’t doubt that these women could do just about anything with their collective enthusiasm.
Bhavna and Aditi Parbhoo, Anita Spencer, Tanya Nortje & Charity Shaba – Zamara Support Down Syndrome
Zamara is a new charity in Livingstone, but it has already made a massive impact on many local families’ lives. Down Syndrome is not widely spoken about in the local communities, and to date, few educational opportunities have existed. Seeing the vast opportunities available overseas for those with Down Syndrome and their families, a dedicated group of women focused on giving Livingstone residents a hand up.
This group of long-standing members of the Livingstone community started Zamara to offer speech therapy, occupational therapy, education, and social interactions for those with Downs Syndrome and their families. Check out the Zamara Facebook page for more information and contact them if you would like to get involved.
Christina Mutikitela – Lubasi Children’s Home and Lushomo Home
Lubasi translates to ‘family’ in Silozi, one of the local languages in the Livingstone region. For almost two decades, Christina Mutikitela has mothered hundreds of children and nurtured them to be their best selves. Lubasi Home provides a loving environment for children between 2-17 years of age on a permanent basis. Located in Maramba, about ten minutes outside of Livingstone town’s center, this home now supports upwards of 60 vulnerable children, many being orphaned.
Since its inception, Lubasi Home has depended on private funding. Though always a struggle to make ends meet, Global Partners for Health, based in the United States, has an online fundraising facility on their website. This greatly assists with the expense of salaries, utilities, and education. The Zambian Catholic Church, The International Rotary group, and The Episcopalian Church, as well as numerous Livingstone businesses, offer in-kind donations and volunteer countless hours.
Lynne Mendelsohn – Zambezi Animal Welfare Services
In 2014, Zambezi Animal Welfare Services was officially established in Livingstone, Zambia. However, it was long before this that Lynne Mendelsohn noticed the need for an organization that can advocate for domestic animals in Zambia’s tourist capital. Lynne and a core team of Livingstone ladies have been the driving force behind this NGO that continues to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome cats and dogs.
ZAWS stands behind their ethos that a ‘rescued’ animal doesn’t mean a ‘damaged’ one and is committed to giving those in their charge the love, attention, and care that they have lacked to date. You can visibly see the sparkle return to the eyes of the dogs and cats once they have had weeks of cuddles and proper nutrition. Community outreach programs are ongoing, including vaccinating rural pets and offering veterinary attention and education. If you would like to volunteer, give pet food or offer a donation, please get in touch via the ZAWS website.