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Vulnerable women touch First Lady’s heart

FIRST Lady Esther Lungu interacts with pupils at Parklands High School in Chilanga yesterday. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU

SITEMBILE SIWAWA, Chilanga
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has called on the social welfare department to pay particular attention to addressing the plight of older women who have been left with the burden of looking after orphans of their deceased children.
Speaking in Chilanga yesterday after touring projects being undertaken by women, Mrs Lungu said the department under the Ministry of Community Development should do something to improve the livelihoods of these vulnerable women.
“I’m calling on other stakeholders to come to the aid of our mothers because I’m also trying to look for money from other stakeholders. As you may be aware, I’m not on a salary I do not get paid,” she said.
The First Lady, however, restated her commitment to using her position to improve the livelihoods of women.
And Mrs Lungu has donated K30,000 to six women associations in Chilanga in her continued effort to uplift the welfare of women.
She said sourcing funds from donors is the only way she could help the women and poor in the country as her office is not funded.
Speaking earlier, Lusaka Province permanent secretary Stardy Mwale commended Mrs Lungu for extending her economic empowerment programme to women of Chilanga and the province at large.
Mr Mwale expressed confidence that beneficiaries of the First Lady’s outreach programmes could be able to exploit their full potential.
He also noted that women in Lusaka Province have challenges that need urgent attention like anywhere else.
“Your mission here in Chilanga district is appreciated, especially among the women and vulnerable children,” Mr Mwale said.
And speaking at the same function, Chilanga Women’s Association chairperson Ophelia Chinyama said her members need to have adequate access to credit facilities.
Mrs Chinyama said the loans given to women by the micro-finance institutions are inadequate.
“They should increase the loans from the current K1,000 to K5,000 because as women, we have so many projects we are thinking of venturing into,” she said.

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