Florence, head of our Girl Child Project
3rd October 2017:
I first saw Florence in action at a community meeting where we were discussing the establishment of a preschool and said to myself: What an amazing woman!
She had the confidence to direct the chief and the village head people in a way that reminded me of a younger Mary Coyne. She had a way of getting people to move forward.
Months or years later I was bringing her back to the factory one evening and asked her what Wells for Zoë might do for her in return for the wonderful work she was doing with women’s self help groups. She simply said, I want to go back to Secondary School, and so it was and here she is.
Jacquie did a bio pic of many of our workers and here is Florence:
Florence was born in Chizaula Mzimba in September 1980. She currently lives in Lupaso with her husband and four children. There are nine people in total living in her house.
Florence is one of 9 children but 3 passed away. Her mother passed in 2009, but her father remains alive, and was always an advocate encouraging his girls to education.
Florence completed standard 1 to 8 of primary school and went on to Nkhamenya secondary school. Her mother did small business selling fish to support her education but she struggled to pay the fees. At the end of Form 1 Florence had to drop out of school and stayed at home as there were no fees. Her brother finished to form four and scored 2 points in agriculture which is equivalent to 90% plus in his exam and decided he would stay at home and farm.
It was at this stage that Florence returned to school, she had lost her original place in school and she completed form 2 in another school. Her brother got married and now there was no fees available for Florence.
When she was 18 years old she got married to Peter. They have 4 children the oldest is Veronica, who is 17 years and has special needs, she stays at home where Peter is her carer. Then there are three boys Mwiza (14 years, form 1) Abel (11 years, standard 7) and Gracious (9 years, Standard 4)
(Peter is one of the nicest, most caring and supportive men I have ever met. He has enabled Florence to excel at what she is doing because of the support she gets from her husband, which is how it should be, of course.)
Always the caring mother, Florence has in her house ten people, her husband and children accompanied by Gomezga and Hellings, both orphans from when her brother died. Along with them is Lusungu Moyo a young girl funded for school by Wells for Zoe but lives too far from the secondary school she was selected to attend and her family don’t have enough money to feed her. Florence has another orphan called Gilbert who is currently learning to be a carpenter and her sister Prominence who also works with Wells for Zoë.
Florence started her life as a voluntary community facilitator in St John of God Services. In 2011 Florence returned to school, funded by Wells for Zoë and finished her form 4 in 2014. From this time Florence transferred to working with Wells for Zoë. At first she was working with preschools working through the Chigmezgo self-help cluster to encourage communities to have their own preschools and encourage the care givers to work on a voluntary basis.
Since 2015 Florence is key in running the Wells for Zoe Girl Child project where she is responsible for organising the support Saturday Classes and meeting students and families that are funded by W4Z.
We will have 250 girls this year and Florence will know them all and all their circumstances.
She will care for them and let them away with nothing.
To keep her feet on the ground(!), can I say that she is just one of a group of amazing workers we have in Wells for Zoë and we love them all.