By Judith Sibanda
Victoria Falls, April 08, 2016 – THE Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) is holding its first ever conference to educate women about projects that can make them self-reliant in the face of the country’s unending economic problems.
The three day conference being held under the theme: Where He may lead me, I will go, was officially opened on Thursday with Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko urging women to be self-reliant.
In a speech read on his behalf by Information, the Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister, Mphoko said the projects being initiated by the SDA would transform the women’s lives and those of their families.
“This gathering seeks to nurture, support and inspire women in a unique and personal way,” he said.
“The Women’s Ministries Department in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is committed to encourage, equip and nurture women to be self-sufficient.
“There is no obstacle that can deter women from developing this country for the betterment of their lives, and that of their families and local communities.
“This congress has invited various critical stakeholders such as the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises Development to help empower the women to come up with income generating projects.
“In this challenging economy, everybody must play a part in creating wealth, and the promotion of self-sufficiency is one such way.”
Mphoko said the church had identified several critical issues such as barriers preventing women from reaching their full potential and these were illiteracy, poverty, risks of health, abuse, length of work days and poor working conditions.
The Vice-President said women should stop being dependant on others.
“I also note that so many exhibitors have come to confirm and inspire women that it is possible, it can be done,” Mphoko said.
“Abundant resources with which the country is endowed should be harnessed to improve the livelihoods of everybody.
“I implore women, and indeed some men, to discard the begging syndrome, dependency syndrome and spoon-fed syndrome because these engender a spirit of lack of innovativeness and idleness, which are sinful in the eyes of the Lord.” he added.
“May you contribute meaningfully to the development needs of the communities as you assist them to improve their minds, physical health, nutrition and temperance.
“As the protagonists in family upbringing and development, go back and cascade your newly-found wisdom and skills to others who did not make it here, and avoid the non-productive competitive behaviour, envy and jealousy normally associated with women.”
The conference that ends on Saturday has attracted more than 3 000 women.
Some of the high level delegates include SDA president Micah Chonga, deputy prosecutor-general Florence Ziyambi and Zimbabwe Women Ministries director Siphiwe Chisewe.