“It is indeed my pleasure to welcome you all to the second United Methodist Church Professional Women Gathering in the history of the UMC in Zimbabwe…” said Rev. Maria Masamba the Zimbabwe west Annual Conference Ministry with Women, Children and Youth Chairperson in welcoming guests to the Luncheon held recently at Cresta Jameson Hotel, Harare.

Nyadire Home of Hope Orphanage was the focus for the day. The proceeds from the luncheon are earmarked at developing the centre into a state-of-the-art  orphanage.
The vision is that the kids can live in families so they can do their chores and homework together, thereby creating families of their own.
The luncheon raised us$2348 and R100 in cash, a candle-making machine, toilet cleaners, blankets, bins, 3 bags of clothing items. More pledges in cash and kind continued to pour in.
“Probably it is going to be our culture that women from different angles meet to help our needy children by sharing some talk and share knowledge in order to motivate and inspire each other…” added Rev. Masamba.
Besides fundraising for the orphanage the gathering created a platform to share ideas and empower the women that came from various walks of life within the annual conference.
A number of speakers exchanged the podium imploring the women to be empowered and have a sense of self worth.
“Do not look down upon yourself because there is no better you that God could have created…and it is you who have been called to support the children.” said Rev. Dr. Zebediah Marewangepo, the Administrative Assistant to the Bishop in his opening message to the gathering.
Mr. Spiwe Betty Katiyo the Associate Conference Secretary (ZWAC), added her voice to the clarion call of women empowerment. “…we are all empowered in one way or the other but what we lack is getting it out…the power is already within us”.
“We should aim towards a women’s organization that is tasked with educating, empowering and enabling” she added.
The Ministry with Women, Children and Youth organized luncheon was not even an inch away from those precepts.
Ms Gladys Kanyongo, the General Manager of SEDCO (Small Enterprises Development Corporation) who was the Guest of Honour at the event however bemoaned the low rate of opportunities-take-up by women in Zimbabwe, yet the government has created an enabling environment.
“The challenge is that opportunities are there but women are not coming forward. For every ten clients that we have offered loans only three are women. The constitution process is over and done with and still not many women bother to know the contents…” said Ms. Kanyongo.
She encourage the women present to begin networking and know what other women are doing.
She pointed to the presence of highly successful women on the presenters’ panel, Mrs. Katiyo a business woman in her own right and Dr. Rudo Mutasa the only female pathologist in the country who is the daughter of the late veteran journalist Ezekiel Makunike.
Dr. Mutasa had the house in utter amazement as she brought out real life specimens from cancer patients (identities hidden) and put the cliché; “knowledge is power” in its proper context.
“Anybody can get cancer and it can create orphans like those we have gathered here to support” stated Dr. Mutasa
“God gave us dominion to role over every creature, and more so to rule over our bodies…and we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and of a sound mind.”
Dr. Mutasa said this pointing to the fear that grips people on being diagnosed with cancer.
She however dispelled the widespread fears of an imminent loss of life, by emphasizing on early diagnosis and regular self examination and living a disciplined life, but further encouraged the spirit of love in the partners and families of cancer patients.
Members from different districts and speakers alike encourage the organizers to continue making the luncheon an annual event and event make it a bigger event.
Rev. Alan Masimba Gurupira, the ZWAC Connectional Ministries Director commended the committee for a great and illustrious job in the Connectional Ministries and hoped that all the lessons drawn from the luncheon be put to good use.
News desk: Chenai Kumuterera and Taurai Emmanuel Maforo