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WOZA walk update
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
September 20, 2004

Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members embarked upon a 440-kilometer walk from Bulawayo to Harare on Sunday 19 September 2004. The women activists, numbering numbering 35, left Bulawayo at 6:20 am on Sunday and by 5 pm, 20 September the group had set up camp at the Matabele War Memorial 107 kilometers from Bulawayo. They will continue walking along the highway covering

30-50 km per day. They are spending the night out in the open and had showers to content with last night and the weather has remained inclement today. Suitable for walking but not for sleeping out in the open.

Aged between 20 and 60 years old, and in all shapes and sizes, the walkers averaged 6 kilometers an hour proving their walk message - 'You strike a woman and you have struck a rock'! A Zulu saying - Uthinte Umfazi Uthinte Imbokodo!

The NGO Bill if passed in its current form will have struck at the lives and very survival of women and their families. Most of the women are beneficiaries of donor food and have HIV/Aids orphans that they care for. This walk symbolizes a defending of the kindness of the donor community and way of saying how much their help has meant to Zimbabweans.

A Methodist Reverend, from the outspoken Christians Together for Justice and Peace blessed the walkers at a prayer Service on Friday. He called on the women to "defend those doing good and not allow doing good to become criminalized". The NGO Bill seeks to exert tight-fisted control over human rights and governance activities undertaken by organizations. Such activities were hitherto able to operate under international Human Rights protocols and norms. The Church community has described the bill as an "overkill' Bill and Civic society has adopted a unified position in dubbing the NGO Bill - "the Bill that kills when Zimbabweans want life". Background: The NGO Bill is due to become a law in October and over 200 community activists will loose a source of income. Their families and the orphans they care for will suffer hardship. WOZA is conducting a sponsored walk to raise money for the welfare of activists.

Members will each walk 60 kilometers, with some attempting to walk all the way. Please donate or sponsor us to help lessen the suffering caused by this unjust law. As it is drafted now, this Bill will KILL instead of bringing us more LIFE. IT affects us, and the caring people who help us with food when we are hungry, medicine when we are sick, development, which gives us opportunities. NGO's and Civic Society organizations give us knowledge. KNOWLEDGE is POWER so the Bill wants to make us powerless.

Visit the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) fact sheet

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