When I was in Africa, I had the privilege of meeting a wonderful woman called Edith Wakumire. She lost her mother at six months old, with her Father left to fend for herself and her brothers and sisters. Seen as a disgrace to the eyes of the community, her father was murdered when she was aged twelve. Most orphans this age in Uganda are left with two options, be sold off into prostitution or married multiple times. Despite the horrific circumstances, she defied traditions under Idi Amin’s tyrannical rule, Edith sold coffee and bamboo so she could attend school from the age of 9. She also worked in teacher training in Kampala, and managed to further her training in Singapore before returning to her home to establish the Uganda Women Concern Ministry. An organisation that oversees the care of 11,000 affected by HIV AIDS as well as sponsor the education of orphans.
I have seen the work of the ministry first hand, widowed women given work by creating jewellery out of old magazines, some of which I bought for my family back home.
I have seen communities where every child, women and man will die of AIDS. Because of the ministry’s efforts, their passing is to be seen through as compassionately and respectfully as possible.
When I met Edith, she had a streak of joy in her eyes, ever faithful and ever believing in goodness.
Today is international women’s day.
We live in a world where each and every one of us owes our existence to women, yet equal pay, opportunities and respect remain an elusive to the vast amount of majority in the world.
May today and every continuous day be a step forward for humanity and the equality of women.