Zimbabwe: Itai Makara

Zimbabwe: Itai Makara

Date: November 9, 2016
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There is surely an end to domestic violence. Gender Links (GL) made me believe that there is surely an end to stagnation and progress is for everyone. GL taught me very important things which have changed my life.

I met GL for the first time in 2013. I was not used to having someone who loves me. GL loves us such that they looked for us and they were prepared to do something to change our lives.  The year 2013 became a year of new beginnings in my life. I felt like a worthy person among others. I attended all the phases of the training and they proved to be important to me. The challenge I had at first was lack of finances to start a business which I could apply the knowledge I had learnt. I sought for and acquired a loan from Agribank.

I used to be an illegal foreign currency dealer and I was operating from the streets. I ventured into tuck shop business. I have a tuck shop at our house. The business is running smoothly and growing too. I undertake market research for my business and I keep records of transactions. I have managed to change most of the old furniture in our house and some electrical appliances such as the television set. The house is decorated and I also dress professionally. This has given me confidence among other people and I see myself as a worthy person. I have achieved all this because of the training programme. Chiredzi Town Council made it easier for me to register my business. I am operating a legal business. I am also getting more opportunities from the council.

I experienced violence from my husband before I joined the training programme. My husband used to abuse me and at times he would take my money. This was a threat to my business when I was an illegal foreign currency dealer. I could not report him to the police because I was running an illegal business. The violence stopped when I started the training. My husband is now afraid that I can have him arrested if he abuses me. I started sharing with him what I would have learnt from the training. He is now convinced that the agenda of the training is not just for me to stand up for my rights but to be economically empowered too. He is now supporting me in the business. I am now earning more money than him. My in laws are also respecting because they are seeing my achievements since I started the training. Economic empowerment gives security to women and their husbands cannot take advantage over them.

The society used to look down upon me. Nowadays they value my importance. I also joined a savings club. The transformation in my life is influencing others, and they are motivated to follow suit. People are coming to me seeking assistance on matters of domestic violence and business. I have assisted others and they are now running their own businesses. Some are giving positive testimonies. People are also understanding that women can also do work the same way as men can do.

I learnt about gender equality. Women can also be successful entrepreneurs. I learnt about business planning, record keeping and market research. I have been using these concepts in my business and I intend to continue using them because my business is doing well. I will not be deterred from venturing into other businesses because of my sex. My plans are to finish building our house with my husband, buy a farm and send all of my children to school. I will venture into farming after buying our own farm. By the year 2030 I ought to have a big supermarket and employ many people. I also wish to have cars. I thank GL for the knowledge they gave us. I thank them for their courage and love. Our lives are better than before and we are optimistic of brighter future. I wish they continue doing the good work and be able to reach out to others who are experiencing domestic violence.