By Thembelihle Mhlanga
Lupane District Development Coordinator Mrs Ennette Sithole told a gathering at the belated commemoration of International Rural Women`s Day held last week that women are the strongest elements of the family and the community.
The commemoration which was organised by Ntengwe for Community Development was held at Mqabuko Primary School at Kana Block ward in Lupane.
Mrs Sithole asserted that women in rural areas are the strongest pillars of the family as they bear it all on their shoulders.
She went on to state that rural women who are into subsistence farming constitute sixty percent of the population and are the very source of family livelihoods, as they labour for the sustenance of their families.
“Rural women are the source of family well-being as they work and toil from dawn to dusk in order to eke out a living for their families. I have observed that children are so healthy in this place and it is down to the industrious mothers who provide good nutrition.” she said.
However, Mrs Sithole expressed regret that these hardworking rural women’s efforts are underappreciated as some of them are victims of domestic violence.
“We have disturbing scenarios amongst the rural communities, of spiralling cases of gender based violence in various forms ranging from physical, economic, emotional and sexual violence” said Mrs Sithole.
In an interview with Community Podium Kana Block resident, Mrs Kezia Muleya said that rural women face and brave a number of challenges and she hailed Ntengwe for Community Development for economically empowering and capacitating women on advocacy.
“Ntengwe came to our plight and capacitated us on advocacy and helped us translate the ownership of our land into joint ownership with our husbands. Through this intervention as rural women we are now proud co-owners of the land with our partners thereby giving us a protective buffer should things go wrong.” , said Jessica Munkuli, a resident who benefited from the Ntengwe-initiated joint ownership of land.
Speaking at the same occasion Chief Menyezwa Gumede reiterated praise for Ntengwe for Community Development for realizing the needs of rural women. He however encouraged women to take up developmental opportunities with determined rapidity for the betterment of their lives.
“I thank the organisers of this event whom we all know have been here capacitating, building and empowering these women for a progressive living, as they are now co- owners of asserts in the family,” added the Chief
International Women`s Day is commemorated globally on the 15th of October and this year the commemorations were held under the theme “Building Women`s Resilience In the Wake of Covid 19.”