Arrianne Sarah – Mauritius

Arrianne Sarah – Mauritius

Date: July 22, 2016
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A radical transformation of my life due to Gender Links

During my first meeting with Gender Links I was impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness of the facilitator to help us bring change and improve our lives. I was touched by this gesture from a stranger who wished to help us feel better and support us. I was very interested in taking the course despite my disability.

I am a handicapped woman and the mother of two children. I suffered from a partial body paralysis after the birth of my daughter 13 years ago and with time my condition deteriorated and I became completely bed ridden. Before the birth of my daughter I used to work in a hotel and helped my family, but after my illness I lost the job. I lost everything. I accepted loneliness as part of my fate. I truly ended up believing that there was no future for handicapped people. However, my good friend Priscilla Bignoux stood by me. She helped me to start going out and mingling with people again. It was only then that I started to see the bright side of life. I started smiling once again. I met new people at women’s centres and at different associations.

It was Priscilla who introduced me to Gender Links. I enrolled for the entrepreneurship programme and was determined to attend all the sessions. Soon enough, I started to notice little pieces of happiness here and there. Each time I got up in the morning knowing I was to attend the entrepreneurship course I would feel an inner strength and I would forget that I am handicapped.

I don’t know why every time I tell this to my friends they laugh at me, but my light bulb moment was when I realised I could make money out of something I enjoy doing, that is, making pizza. It never occurred to me that I could do something like this, but I tried it once and it worked. Even though I am not able to make pizzas on a large scale for long periods of time, the idea worked and I was very happy and I felt on top of the world.

My whole life has been changed. It was a radical transformation. I realised that my handicap does not define who I am. I realised that if one part of my body does not work, life still goes on and life is meant to be lived. I no longer feel alone, I have friends, I do not remain static and I choose to move around.

My daughter and my son admire my courage. They always cheer me up. They always push me to my limits and I realise that I can still push those limits further. I would like to thank whoever invented the entrepreneurship programme. It is life changing. I think Sabrina has helped me a lot with advice, words of encouragement or simply with her smile.

I learned various business skills such as how to manage a business and gather an audience. On a more personal level, I learned how to make friends and how to live fully. I think personal motivation is also a prerequisite for change.

My neighbours often taunt me about how far this handicapped woman will go. I keep pushing these negativities to the back of my head but sometimes they affect me. When they do, I remember the words of Sabrina and all the motivation comes back to me and I get back on track.

I want to keep running this pizza business in a more sustainable manner. I want to be able to make both ends meet through this business. I am just so happy with my life right now. Thank you Gender Links.


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