Merck Foundation Announces Winners Of “Merck More Than A Mother” Fashion Awards

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Merck Foundation had invited application from all young Fashion Designers of Zambia to create a design with the aim to break the stigma around infertility in general and around infertile women in particular in Zambia and rest of Africa; The 6 winners got an opportunity to exhibit their designs during Zambia Fashion Week with the aim to empower infertile and childless women. The theme of the ceremony was #NoToInferrtilityStigma

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany announced the winners of “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards in partnership with H.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia, together with Zambia Fashion Week.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President, Merck More Than a Mother emphasized “We initiated the “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards across all Africa with the aim to deliver strong and influential messages to empower infertile women and say ‘No to Infertility Stigma’ and to create meaningful fashion trend to educate their communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’.”

The awards attracted many applications, out of which, 5 best designs were chosen by the ‘Merck More Than a Mother’ committee.

The winners of the “Merck More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards are:

  • Ms. KASONDE NKOLE, First Winner
  • Ms. VARINDER KAUR VIRDY, Second Winner
  • Mr. GIBSTAR MAKANGLIA
  • Ms. KASONDE MAKANGLIA
  • Ms. CHIMWEMWE KALIRANI
  • Ms. SAANDIME SHISHOLEKA

The awards winners were granted $500 each to execute and showcase their designs (arranging for models) and had an opportunity to exhibit them during the Zambia Fashion Week which was conducted in Lusaka on 17th -19th October 2019.

“No designer has ever, or would ever, say that he or she wanted to make things difficult for women. Fashion industry has already got enough flakes for being superficial. These awards are our efforts to change this perception and create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities that ‘Fertility is a Shared Responsibility’ and ‘Women are more than just Mothers”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Merck Foundation established a long-term partnership with the First Lady of Zambia and Ministry of Health to build healthcare capacity with the aim of improving access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions nationwide.

Merck Foundation has also appointed Her Excellency First Lady of Zambia to be the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mindset to break the stigma around infertility. Through this campaign, Merck Foundation has trained the first Fertility specialists in Zambia, and will continue to train more candidates to help infertile couples across the country.

Merck Foundation has also appointed Her Excellency First Lady of Zambia to be the Ambassador of Merck More Than a Mother campaign to empower infertile women through access to information, health and change of mindset to break the stigma around infertility. Through this campaign, Merck Foundation has trained the first Fertility specialists in Zambia, and will continue to train more candidates to help infertile couples across the country.

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