Columbus Mabika Herald Reporter
Five thousand women in rural areas across the country have started receiving funds to boost their businesses, which have been affected by Covid-19.
The money is being distributed by a local Muslim humanitarian organisation Dar al Salaam, as part of its Covid-19 relief response programme to assist communities.
The capital is being distributed to entrepreneurs irrespective of religious beliefs.
The entrepreneurs are receiving varying amounts depending on the nature and size of their business.
Speaking The Herald on Friday, Dar al Salaam chairman Mr Agrippa Kapuya said his organisation embarked on a plethora of aid programmes nationwide to cushion communities against the effects of the pandemic.
He said plans were afoot to lobby for more assistance in the programme from fellow Muslim humanitarian organisations worldwide.
“This initiative is for those women whose business have collapsed due to this pandemic wreaking havoc globally,” said Mr Kapuya. “We felt the pandemic affected women to a larger extent compared to men, hence for a start we are giving them cash depending on the nature and size of business one is undertaking. We are targeting over 5 000 small scale female entrepreneurs throughout the country.
“Like what we did with the food aid programme, we looked for fellow Muslim humanitarian organisations to partner us in this programme of assisting those whose businesses collapsed.”
Mr Kapuya said his organisation had a team travelling throughout the country identifying those female entrepreneurs whose business were affected.
He said the initiative was a social assistance programme to scale up empowerment of rural women.
Mr Kapuya said the fight against the pandemic was ongoing and urged communities to follow Government guidelines to reduce the spread.
Mrs Gladys Chinembiri, who owns a shop in Murehwa and received US$1 000 from Dar al Salaam to boost her business, commended the organisation for the assistance.
“This is a shot in the arm to our small investments in rural areas,” she said. “We are glad for this kind gesture from the Muslim community. We are not part of their religion, but they are assisting us, besides this is a step in the right direction towards empowering rural women.”
Another business woman Mrs Vongai Zondo, who is into market gardening in Norton and received US$500, welcomed the gesture and called on other organisations to take a leaf from Dar al Salaam in assisting rural communities.
“These are trying times that require those with resources to spare to help those disadvantaged,” she said. “This is excellent programme from Dar al Salaam, let other organisations follow such good gestures.”
Last month, Dar al Salaam in partnership with another Muslim organisation Muslimehelfen of Germany handed over food hampers worth millions of dollars to over 300 000 food insecure families throughout the country.
The food was also distributed to needy households irrespective of their religious beliefs.