FIRST Lady Esther Lungu says first ladies have played significant roles in uplifting the wellbeing of the marginalised in society such as women by taking a strong stance against injustice.

Mrs. Lungu said this during the launch of the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust at the Governmnet Complex in Lusaka on Saturday evening. She said contrary to beliefs by some people that First Ladies lived luxurious lives and never stepped out of their comfort zones to extend a helping hand to those in need, First Ladies across the world had leveraged their podium and taken a leading role in helping the vulnerable in communities such as women, girls, and children.

“In the last two decades, first ladies have served as vital champions of causes that improve lives. From promoting wellbeing to taking a stand against injustice, spouses of Governmnet leaders have leveraged their unique platforms to advance the status of vulnerable populations and challenge the status quo at the community, country, and international levels.

“Combating the oppression of women is a poignant example of this influence. In 2002, African First Ladies etched a significant moment in the legacy on the need for all voices everywhere to join the fight against HIV/AIDS. First Ladies now challenge customary practice; First Ladies are now stepping into the global spotlight and adding their voices in solidarity with issues that affect humanity,” Mr. Lungu said.

She said First Ladies sought to create a world in which all children had access to education; where women lived healthy, vibrant lives and the economic life of countries was spurred by the active inclusion of women. She expressed optimism that the trustees she had selected to work with in her foundation would contribute immensely to the trust’s realisation of its core objective of bettering the lives of Zambians.

“It is in this regard that I, together with trustees who I have selected based on their business acumen and their roles in the community and strong business governance skills have formed the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust.  “I recognise it is critical to the success of the foundation to have trustees with the necessary skills and integrity to be trusted to manage the funds donated on behalf of, and for the benefit of the community,” she said.

She said her first passion was the economic empowerment of women as investments in women were investments that paid off for the community and countries. He said research had shown that when women were able to earn an income, they reinvested 90 percent of their earnings in families and as a result, their children were more likely to attend school, their households were less susceptible to diseases, making their communities stronger and more prosperous.

“This launch will enable us to share our vision for helping our country and to encourage you to support the foundation in any way that suits you; be it as a donor or as an advocate encouraging others to support the work of the foundation,” she said.

And giving a vote of thanks, Bernadette Deka said she was happy to be associated with a foundation which sought to transform the lives of all Zambians regardless of their social and economic status.

Ms. Daka thanked the First Lady for the vision and passion she had for helping Zambians, especially the disadvantaged and the underprivileged.

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