The Most Inspiring Story In Zambia – Kapiri Woman Excels

The Most Inspiring Story In Zambia – Kapiri Woman Excels.
AS MANY continue to cry foul and blame Government over low employment levels, others choose to make a difference by working extremely hard and taking advantage of whatever means are available to them to earn a living.
Mary Bwalya, 38, of Kapiri Mposhi in Central Province is one such example of women who have chosen to be unique and exceptional in society.
After the death of her husband in 2010, Mrs Bwalya was left with almost nothing because her in-laws grabbed most of their property. They only left her with metal fabrication equipment which was her husband’s profession.
Pressured by the fact that she was left with a daughter to raise and send to school plus her mother who is in her 80s, Mrs Bwalya was forced to continue with her husband’s occupation using the very few metals and hammers she had in her possession.
“My husband was a metal fabricator, so I used to watch how he used to do it and I found myself doing it professionally, I really love it,” she said.
Mrs Bwalya also taught her daughter, Gift Bwalya, who has since been a helping her to provide for household needs.
What makes Mrs Bwalya’s case unique is that metal fabrication is regarded as an occupation for men, but she does it so well that even men buy items from her ranging from chicken feeders, braziers, pots, washing buckets and other products.
In 2014, Mrs Bwalya was recognised by some women empowerment groups that helped her come to Lusaka to attend an empowerment conference.
Amazingly, she excelled by coming out on top and was recognised as the most hard-working woman entrepreneur in Zambia enabling her to get some sponsorship.
That did not only encourage her to work harder but to also go back to school.
So aside from working hard to send her grade 12 daughter to school, she is also spending on her own personal development and will be sitting for her grade 12 examinations this year.
Her daughter Gift, who has become more professional at the job, balances between school and metalwork.
Gift says she is blessed to have a hard-working mother who gets to have swellings sometimes on her hands due to excessive metal work just to send her to school.
“I am happy to have a mother like her, she has taught me how to work as well and so we do everything together and am proud to be doing this,” said Gift.
She has a dream of becoming a technical engineer after school and is appealing to all girls who come from poor families not to be involved in illicit activities.
Gift would have easily started sleeping around with men, but she instead chose to work hard with her mother to make their tomorrow brighter.
Their story is touching because just by looking at how their skin looks, one is able to tell how difficult the work they do is and also the fact that it is done in the sun.
It’s about how to keep yourself strong and moving even when things are really tough.
What makes Mrs Bwalya a successful and inspirational woman is not the amount of money she is able to earn from her business, but that even after being widowed and being left with nothing, she stood up and started building herself not by lobbying for sponsorship from Government but by using the tools her husband left behind.
It is this very difference that made the United Nations (UN) officials to pay her a visit in Kapiri Mposhi and applaud her for her good work.
The market from which she operates came to a standstill when UN vehicles arrived and started interviewing Mrs Bwalya.
Even those that never used to see how much effort she puts into her work joined in appreciating this unique woman’s effort.
UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan explained to Mrs Bwalya that the delegation that visited recently to attend the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual general meetings passed through to appreciate the unique work she is doing.
Among those that visited her are Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) representative for Africa Bukar Tijani, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) regional director Dr Julitta Onabando and other UN leaders.
The delegates were touched when the woman and her daughter demonstrated how they do their work.
Lifting metals from one place to another and working with hammers, which seems a bit risky for a woman, but for her it is about showing to the masses, what a man can do, a woman can do, too.
Mrs Bwalya made a pot while her daughter made a brazier in less than 30 minutes which they said they sell according to sizes.
The surprise visit by the UN meant a lot to both her and her daughter because they even received some grade 12 books that they were lacking.
Asked on whether she has other dreams, Mrs Bwalya said she wishes to be a national marriage councillor.
She said her dream is to be educated and be on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to inculcate good morals in young people, especially those that are getting into marriage.
“But my greatest achievement in life right now is that my daughter is not a prostitute and I am able to send her to school. I believe that with hard work, anything can be achieved,” said Mrs Bwalya.
Mrs Bwalya did not have to be a doctor to be recognised but it is simply hard work that has made her name known by the UN.
Such is only achieved when people realise that by waiting for Government only to bring change, nothing can be achieved. It’s only through hard work, realising one’s potential and getting out of the comfort zone as women that change can be achieved.