when you empower a woman

you empower the whole world

winnie, sandra and patricia

today, on international women’s day, i want to share a story about my zambian host sister, sandra, with you.

sandra is my age. when i was living in the village, she was a single mother with 2 little kids. like every mother, she wanted to ensure that her little girls had the best life possible. she was an extremely hard worker and smart too.

when i had my oven built, i started baking a lot more. this lead to my host mom, bamaama, and sandra baking with me too. bamaama and sandra could make the best simple scones ever. i started sharing recipes with them to make different things and different types of cakes.

the hardest part about baking in the village was sugar and flour. it was expensive for the average village family, especially if you had to buy it in the village (where prices were always higher than in town). whenever i would go into town i would stock up on a few kilograms of each. and when i got back home, i would often share a bit with sandra and bamaama too.

those simple scones were amazing, but with sugar? even better!!!!!

one day sandra came to me with a business proposition. she wanted to start her own cake baking business and sell small pieces around the village. but she needed start up capital. i was more than happy to oblige! we made an agreement that she would pay me back in 1 months time and i wouldn’t charge her any interest.

she was off to town to buy materials the very next day!

over the course of those first few weeks, i would watch sandra bake her cakes in the morning, get them ready to go in her basket, strap the baby on her back and off she would go.

she would walk around the village to people’s houses until she had sold everything she made. sometimes she would be back home by lunchtime. sometimes she wasn’t back home until after dark. but she would always sell everything.

2 weeks later, she brought all of the money she borrowed back to me. i was so surprised that she had earned that much that quickly! i asked if she was sure if she wanted to pay me back right away. she explained that she had enough funds to make another trip into town and purchase supplies for her next round of baking!

over the next few months, sandra continued to bake and sell her cakes. she was making a real name for herself in the village. everyone knew the quality of sandra’s cakes were amazing and she would tell people that i loved them too! 😉 (which i did and i told her that was a great marketing idea!)

me and sandra
patricia and jeannie on their first day of school

when they say ‘when you empower a woman, you empower the world,’ i fully believe this. sandra used all her profits to buy a school uniform and pay school fees for her oldest daughter patricia. she used her funds to change the lives of her daughters.

on this international women’s day, i encourage you to think about the women in your life that could use your support. it doesn’t have to be a huge display. it can be something as simple as an email offering good vibes!

happy international women’s day!

join my himalaya hiking adventure!

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