To celebrate International Women’s Day, the staff and volunteers at our St. Lucia project decided to arrange an event and invite some of the most prominent, influential women of Khula Village, one of the communities in which they work, to speak about empowering the women of their community. Although the local Zulu culture is typically male-dominated and patriarchal, this wasn’t the case at the three-hour-long event, which took place on March 8. Instead, male and female leaders of the community spoke to the crowd about a wide rage of subjects concerning the empowerment of women in South Africa. After a long morning of exciting preparations, including cooking and setting up the hall, the volunteers and over 100 other guests settled in to hear a number of speakers. Accompanied by the Induna’s brother, who provided music for the event, Mrs. Mbuyazi of our Ezwenelisha Support Group sang and said the opening prayer and the afternoon’s event was officially underway. First to speak was Sister Mthembu, from Khula Clinic, who made the crowd burst into laughter by performing her own breast examination on stage. She also spoke of the importance of getting pap smears and other women’s health issues. Mrs. Mkhwanazi from Impumelelo crèche gave a heartfelt speech about providing children with love at an early age, and praised African Impact for their work fostering the dreams of children at the crèche. Bongi Mkhwanazi also spoke about being the manager of the Community Work Programme, which employs many of the women of Khula, Alanna Wallace from African Impact spoke about the purpose of the day and Kuliliwe represented the Board of Education by speaking of the importance of learning for young women. The event’s keynote speaker, Mrs. Nzimande of the Induna’s committee, wowed the audience by speaking about entrepreneurship – encouraging women to start their own business. Owning a successful Bed and Breakfast in Khula, Nzimande told the crowd to find a need in the community, however small, and begin growing their businesses. “Don’t stay at home wondering what you’ll eat – what your children will eat,” she said to the crowd, instead telling them to get out and begin earning their own money themselves. Danielle Piccinini, an American Peace Corps volunteer and school teacher at Ubuhlebemvelo, brought her Girl’s Club to perform poetry and dancing – a definite highlight of the day. The Induna closed off the event by echoing Mrs. Nzimande’s words about women’s economic empowerment. Even five days after, Khula is still bustling with news of the event, saying it was the first time the village has celebrated International Women’s Day, and hoping for another event of the like in the near future. If this has inspired you to come and help in the St Lucia communities please check out our Orphan Day Care & HIV/AIDS Education Project in more detail.