Susan Chilala – Zambia

Susan Chilala – Zambia

Date: June 6, 2012
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I want to see Zambian women make the most of their lives. I have been an activist for a very long time, since I was born. I have taken to empowering women in a very practical sense, starting locally here in Kapiri. I have decided that this is a challenge I will be participating in my whole life. I have travelled all over Zambia; when people see me, they ask me where I am going all the time. It has gotten to the point where when people see me, they exclaim, ‘There is the gender lady again!’ I take that is a compliment!

The gender community in Zambia is kept connected and up to date through efforts by individuals, and it is these individuals who ensure that I remains strong myself. Information is passed around to ensure support is still strong, and we all stay committed and inspired.

I have such a passion for the job I do, and hope that one day all women will be emancipated. I take gender work very seriously, and give advice where necessary. There are no set hours for the work which we do. I always tell people that its not easy.

I was very excited to be at the Gender Links summit in 2012, because I can attribute many of my success to GL and its staff. I have constantly been inspired to continue with my work and to keep the struggle alive. I work with women all over the region, and have been part of many projects for women. GL gives us all a chance to communicate. When we come together like this, it is always eye opening. It also broadens my communication skills. I talk to a lot of people in my work, and GL has helped me to communicate well. When going to see different women’s development projects, it is very important to speak and listen well. It is also important to be able to communicate so that people with different views of gender can come to share an understanding.

I value learning from all the people around me, and think that the platform provided by the organization is important for the future of women’s empowerment. This job needs energy everyday, you cant ever get tired.

At one time, I had no idea that a women’s platform existed, let alone that such a summit was being held. Sarah Longwe called me to inform me that I was to go in Longwe’s place. I had only heard of her, I had never met her. And there she was telling me I could go to represent my country! I was so happy! That is the kind of unity and support we need in this sector. It inspired me, and I have faith in our work. Even to this day. Sarah Longwe send us messages on our phones to inform us of all the news that involves gender. She keeps us abreast. She has the energy and keeps us focused. This gives us all energy to keep us on task, and move ahead.

It is people like Sarah Longwe who change people, and teach us to change lives through showing how we are benefiting from hard work. When I go back I will tell people I am coming from South Africa with this work, and they will want to know more. I am looking forward to doing more work in Zambia, and to make it count.


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