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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Celebrating International Women's Day - March 8th, 2015: Make it happen!

All around the world, International Women's Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality. Celebrated on March 8 every year since 1911, thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women's groups, the media – and faith groups - celebrate the day.
International Womens Day
Deaconess Mable Kifwabantu Sichali and Hazel Watson
Deaconess Mable Kifwabantu Sichali is the Community Development Social and Justice Secretary for the United Church of Zambia (UCZ). She tells her story:
"I was born into a Christian family from the UCZ. My father died when I was a young girl in 1984, causing life to change for us. We had very little school sponsorship as my mother was a civil servant and was poorly paid, and so to survive I had to work to raise money to go to school. It was survival of the fittest. One day in September 1992 my elder sister's son suddenly became ill. At church that day I felt the peace of God and had the conviction that I was being called to serve. This was a problem, having moved we were attending the Evangelical Church of Zambia, which has no female pastors and does not allow women to preach in front of men. However, over the following years I was surrounded by such a great witness of men and women of God who encouraged me to join the ministry. In 2004 I was admitted at the UCZ theological college and my journey as a diaconal worker in the UCZ started. During my first appointment in Mazabuka I coordinated women's work in three consistories, and in 2007 I founded Tugwashanye Support Network, an organisation working with orphans, vulnerable children, and widows, living with HIV and AIDS. In March 2014 I was appointed as Community Development Social and Justice Secretary, and currently work on projects including self-help groups (partnered by the Church of Scotland), and continue to negotiate for gender based violence support.
"When I look back and reflect on my life I feel I have come from nowhere. I never knew that one day I would tell my story because I never saw anything good coming out of my life. However I have seen the grace of God in my life - I am now a head of department and the first Deaconess to serve at management level in the history of the UCZ."
Source: Church of Scotland

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