Speech by CEC Company Secretary, Julia Chaila, at Handover of School Shoes Donation to Riverain Combined School
The Kitwe District Commissioner. The Kitwe District Education Board Secretary. The Head Teacher Riverain Combined School. CEC Ladies. Teachers of Riverain Combined School. Parents/Guardians. Beloved Pupils. Members of the Press. Ladies and Gentlemen
“In Their Shoes”
Thank you all for graciously accepting to attend this occasion as we gather to commemorate an important day in our yearly calendar, the International Women’s Day. We are indebted for the support rendered to make this possible. Despite your busy schedules you have taken time to join us at this memorable event, it is an honour to us, we are most grateful.
Guest of honour Sir, as the old adage says, “it takes a village to raise a child” and what is that village? It’s simply the community, our community and yours. It’s me and you. As female employees of CEC, we contemplated on ways in which we could make the commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day more meaningful and special. To this end, we decided that the best way we could celebrate this very important day is to be with our vulnerable children from this school, for an important cause. Society demands that a neighbour’s child is also your child. We therefore decided to not just celebrate the day but to make an impact on our neighbouring community close to the CEC operations, by making a donation to the children of Riverain Combined School.
The donation we are making today is a result of the empathy the CEC ladies have for the children of this school. On a daily basis we cross paths, watch and meet the children of this school, on their school days as they come to school and knock off. Children from Chipata and Zambia compound and other surrounding areas many of whom walk barefooted or have barely covered feet, their feet stepping into stagnant water containing all sorts of dangerous germs and objects, stoney roads, some of which have broken bottles, thorns and other harmful items and on a cold day stepping on cold hard rough surfaces.
This touches us all, we share the feelings of these children, and despite the hardships and challenges they face, we see them faithfully and diligently make their way to school each day, we thought the best way to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day as Mothers, is to share a little with these children in order to alleviate their difficulties and suffering in that regard. We are aware that some of these children are orphans or have lost the main bread winner of the family many have parents who have little or no meaningful source of income, others are faced by a range of social challenges or simply vulnerable. We could not look by and ignore their plight. We have seen the courage and determination of these children. If we take time and effort to put ourselves in the shoes of others, we gain the empathy we need and a deeper understanding for how to truly help and help meaningfully. By our gesture we as CEC ladies today want to put ourselves in the shoes of these vulnerable children, and say to them we understand your fears, difficulties, discouragement, and challenges, and want to make a difference.
To all of us here we challenge you to take a moment to reflect and put ourselves in the lives and shoes of others, those whose lives are often far and remote from ours, the poor, maligned, needy and vulnerable. To know something deeply, is to gain true understanding.
Guest of honour Sir, this year’s theme is digital technology for innovation and technology for gender equality’ and we thought the opportunity to make this donation, to the children of this school, is in line with this objective, in our way. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day resonates well, its aligned to the priority theme for the upcoming 67 th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the theme is about innovation and technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, this cannot be achieved however if others are left behind, as we march on. We must lay the foundation upon which these technologies, innovations and equalities can be built on, it starts with the small steps that will help others, step in our shoes tomorrow.
As CEC ladies we have drawn our vision for this donation from CEC’s CSR and Corporate Social Investment Policy which recognizes the importance of investing in education, health, sport and recreation, environmental stewardship, infrastructure development and young people – all causes and projects that make a difference to the people of our Country.
We at CEC understand, that education is key to development, we believe that improving education opportunities is a catalyst for a better life not only for the individual, but also communities and the society at large. It is also vital for the future of our industry as the young people we support today are potential employees of tomorrow.
Sir, we wish to inform you that this is not the first time that CEC is associating ourselves with Riverain Combined School. We have donated computers and other stationery accessories to help the children of this school with learning needs.
In our quest to respond to the needs of communities, we the women of CEC have in certain instances collaborated with Mutende, an employee-driven association of CEC employees who contribute their time and resources to support our communities through various social impact initiatives. Mutende is a medium through which employees practice their individual Social Responsibility and support the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts which are aimed at reducing the burdens of our communities through donations, service delivery and actions to improve quality of life.
Together with Mutende the CEC ladies have made a donation to the Sakala family of Kitwe’s Kawama Township, struck by a mysterious disease that has left four family members paralysed as well as speech and visually impaired. The donation included two wheelchairs, assorted foodstuffs and groceries, monetary support as start-up capital for an income generating activity as well as support to two school-going children, this was in response to a media report that brought to the fore the plight of the family afflicted by this sad, debilitating and incurable disease.
During the same year and again in conjunction with Mutende, the CEC ladies donated money to the Kayula Childhood Cancer Foundation, based in Lusaka, a sum realised from our fundraising efforts and to aid in the operations of the foundation.
Furthermore, in 2019 again in conjunction with Mutende, the CEC ladies committed to sponsor a vulnerable pupil from Wukwashi Wa Nzambi, a school where CEC had donated a 1×3 classroom block. We committed to continue to sponsor him until successful completion of his degree programme at Catholic University in Kalulushi as long as he cleared all his courses every semester. Another initiative was made in support of making donations to the safe home run by the YWCA for young victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence.
Therefore, with these few mentioned and many others, we have exhibited our desire to give back to the communities around us and to better the quality of life for those who are needy and vulnerable.
With the donation of school shoes, we are making today, the CEC ladies are most confident and certain that the children, our dear beneficiaries, will be able to enjoy their education journey and be reminded that there is hope out there and a possibility of a better future.
Sir, this donation is solely and uniquely that of the CEC ladies no collaborations. We saw the need, teamed up and gathered the resources and today we are here at Riverain Combined School. We believe education is the most important thing we can give children, if we help them go to school and stay in school, they have a better chance of a better and brighter future.
We hope that this donation will go a long way in motivating our young scholars towards the realisation of their dreams.
In closing, I would like to thank all the CEC ladies most sincerely for making this donation possible. A special thanks to the school administration for according us a privilege to convey our cause. To the children we say we love you and may your futures be bright.
I thank you.