As a lifelong Covenanter, I grew up being familiar with Covenant World Relief. When I was a child I would put money in the Covenant World Relief soup can offering bank, and knew in general about their work in the world. However, as I have come in to my 2nd week as an intern at CWR, I realized that I was unfamiliar with the specifics of what CWR does. I did know that CWR partners in transformation but, who are the partners and how does that create transformation?
One of the partners who I have been introduced to in these past few days is Zimele in South Africa. Zimele has been in partnership with CWR since 2011. Zimele, based in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa, works to empower women in local communities by having groups of women gather together to encourage and support each other. These groups then choose a trade or craft they would like to learn to earn extra money and better themselves. Some of the new and creative options for the women are jam making and recycling glass containers, along with more traditional possibilities like child care and farming. With the surplus money these women have earned, they have chosen to reinvest in their own community, helping care for orphans and people affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Zimele project has created remarkable change for the three districts it is working in. The change is so remarkable that the government has given Zimele a contract to expand its work into all 11 districts in the province.
Zimele, speaking about the government partnership, says that “this was a huge experience and honor for all. For the ordinary rural women, it increased their hope and confidence as individuals, and in their collective efforts to bring change for themselves and their communities. They now feel recognized, confident, powerful and highly motivated to work to confront obstacles in their struggle for better lives. Zimele is very excited about this new partnership and looks forward to its unfolding.”
I am excited to learn about other partners of CWR and how they are transforming their communities.
–Written by Michyla Lindberg, new CWR intern and student at North Park University