SHIKANDA KAWANGA, Livingstone
WOMEN in the mining sector have called on stakeholders to support them thrive in the sector.
Gateway Gemstones manager Agness Kafwimbi said being a woman in lapidary business is not easy as they are discouraged by the men who have dominated the sector.
The lapidary business is the engraving, cutting or polishing of stones and gems.
“I have a lot of challenges because people think that a woman cannot handle the lapidary business but I have managed to do it ever since I started 20 years ago.
“We face a lot of challenges, especially from men, sometimes they will tease you. They think only crooks get involved with such a business but the business of stones is available to those who are interested,” she said.
Speaking in an interview recently, Mrs Kafwimbi, who is a member of Kalomo Association for Miners, was motivated to venture in the business upon realising that value could be added to the stones.
“Government has been encouraging people in various businesses to always add value to their products. I polish the stones and make rings, necklaces, bracelets and decorations among many other products,” she said.
Mrs Kafwimbi said most people have failed to conduct the lapidary business and that she has only managed through hard work and the fear of the Lord.
“In the gemstone business, I have managed to sponsor my children’s school. Challenges are there but they can be overcome,” she said.