If selfless giving is an art of living, Anny Chola is one of the great artists. The 60-year-old tailor has given FCTrelief 100 facial masks to be prepared for the rising Corona cases. Rachel Mtonthola reports.
Due to the rising Covid 19 cases, the Zambian president declared it mandatory to wear face masks. We ordered 10 masks for our teachers and cooks. The following week, because most pupils come from a destitute community and cannot afford a mask, Anny came forward and donated 100 face masks for all F.C.T pupils. When asked why she decided to donate the face masks, she said “It’s the season of giving.” Her kind gesture was deeply appreciated by the pupils.
Anny Chola (born 1959) is a 60 years old Zambian lady and tailor for FCTrelief Zambia. We first met Anny Chola in 2010 in Lusaka, Zambia when we started getting involved with a project for orphans. She is happy and single, has never been married and has no biological children. She now lives in Linda compound, Zambia where she runs her own tailoring shop making school bags, school uniforms, dresses, beddings, baby items, washable pads, bags and in fact anything you can make out of fabric! She is looking after her sister’s granddaughter Mary, who has been living with her for some time now and has blossomed with the love, care and security she has with her great-aunt.
The hardworking teenager
Coming from a family of 10. Anny grew up living with her parents and siblings. However, in her late teens she volunteered to live with her former class teacher in order to help with household chores. She also started learning how to sew because she dropped out of school. She improved her tailoring skills on her own. Anny lived in different homes and towns at different stages of her life, as a young lady with people from her church and family friends and when asked why, she said,“I was hard working even as a teenager and that’s the reason most families would ask my parents permission for me to live with them and that’s how I ended up staying in many different homes.” said Anny.
Even as a young girl she would volunteer to help other families by washing dishes, sweeping, cooking, washing clothes and babysitting. Thanks to her tailoring skills, she became independent at a young age. And being a woman with a heart of gold, she immediately offered a roof over their heads for two orphaned girls she identified from her then church, the two girls were brought up by Anny until they were grown up and later got married. She personally taught the girls how to sew using a sewing machine and now they run their own tailoring shops.
Sewing machines in containers
As the saying goes “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal”.
Anny has helped a lot of ladies in Linda compound by teaching them how to sew using a sewing machine and equipping them with tailoring skills. Some years ago about a dozen sewing machines were donated to FCTrelief Zambia and sent in one of the containers. These were used by some of Anny’s students to learn how to sew.
Having met us at FCTrelief Zambia, Anny decided to learn English so she could communicate better with us and enrolled for evening classes. She is now able to understand, read, talk and even write letters in English. She is always smiling and happy, nothing is ever too much for her and she comes to help out with the lunchtime cooking for the FCTrelief pupils if needed and with clothes distribution once or twice a year. She is called “Aunt Anny” by many of the pupils and is like a grandmother to them. She really has a heart of gold!