Women of Maine: Mufalo Chitam

Women of Maine: Mufalo Chitam

For Mufalo Chitam moving to Maine was an adventure. Born and raised in Zambia, Chitam received her BA in Public Administration from the University of Zambia and worked for an American-based non-profit. But when the exciting opportunity presented itself in 2000 she, her husband and their two year-old daughter set out for Portland over seven thousand miles from home. “We arrived in October,” Chitam laughed, “a family friend suggested we come to Portland, that we would love it and when we touched down it was freezing! I’ve never been so cold!” She started working at the University of Southern Maine and has since worked with United Way of Greater Portland, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Kidney Foundation and Easter Seals Maine and currently with the national American Red Cross on development projects and special event planning.

Mufalo’s current project is the inaugural Empower the Immigrant Woman Conference being held on May 21, 2016 at the USM Hannaford Hall in Portland, Maine. The conference’s mission “to empower, educate and inspire the emerging immigrant American woman” is two-fold in its purpose: to help immigrant women feel empowered by building learning skills and networks to enable self-sufficiency and to honor the women in immigrant communities who lead and inspire.

The conference is presented by Intercultural Community Center in collaboration with the University of Maine School of Law, Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, USM Multicultural Center, Portland Adult Education, and two 2016 Maine Women’s Fund grantees, the Immigrants Legal Advocacy Project and Maine Women’s Lobby. The all-day event includes a three-part job empowerment forum during the day that begins with a panel of women sharing insights and inspiration followed by two workshops “Getting Started” and “Getting Settled”. The evening gala begins by honoring women community leaders with the presentation of Trail Blazer Awards.

The conference will build awareness of the work and needs of specific immigrant women and will connect institutions, employers, service providers and state and city leaders to immigrant women in a culturally affirming, welcoming platform. “The [immigrant] population has increased hugely and women need mentors to help navigate the system,” says Mufalo.

The Maine Women’s Fund is pleased to recognize Mufalo Chitam for her vision and stewardship in organizing Empower the Immigrant Woman. The conference will raise awareness of the challenges immigrant women face, connect women with services and help build economic security for Maine women and girls.

For more information about the Empower the Immigrant Woman conference or to register visit: http://empowerimmigrantwoman.org.

If you know a Maine women or girl whose story deserves recognition, please email Lauren Webster LaFrance, Communications and Marketing Director at lauren@mainewomensfund.org.

Posted 04.04.2016 under News and Resources