Lesotho: I change, we change

Lesotho: I change, we change

Date: November 18, 2015
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Seate, Lesotho, 19 November: When I met with Gender Links (GL) for the first time I was asked to write about my problems in an abusive life that I was living. I met GL in 2013 for some courses, all of which I attended. What I found to be of importance was for me to be confident, to detest abuse, and learn ways to run my business well and how to deal with people in business.

Everything in the training was very important because I did not even know what to do when I encountered problems. GL gave me the knowledge of what to do.

The challenges that I experienced included lack of knowledge of how to run a business; how to advertise it; and when I had sold the goods I would use the money from the sales without saving. I fought these challenges by having to keep my business record books, be able to track my profits and pay myself at the end of the month, so that there would be no way that I would tamper with business money to run my household.

Before going for these courses I was making flowers, but not on a regular basis. I made them upon demand. The business has grown and I am making flowers in a serious way. This training has helped me greatly. The position at which I am now is high; my business is well known both in and out of the country. I am also able to teach others about how to make the flowers.

My council has helped me a lot by getting customers for my business, and GL has increased my knowledge by the trainings it has given me. I was abused by my husband and my mother-in-law; I am no longer subjected to abuse now. The change in me is that I am able to make my own money through my own hands and GL has been very instrumental in these changes by holding courses they have for us.

These changes have made me live in a different way because I was using my own hands and no longer having to wait for my husband’s money. When he realised that I was self-sufficient my husband came back home. I am now able to cater fully for my children. Members of the family realise that I am one of them; they respect me as a result of this change.

There is coordination because we are now able to come together and get customers for one another so as to strengthen the economy. We also console each other on the painful experiences that we encounter. We are also able to console other victims who have not been subjected to abuse.

The changes in my life can influence change in other people’s lives to sooth their minds and advise them on ways and means to make a living. And if they are victims of abuse, I advise them to report to the authorities.
My people see a change in me because they realise that the type of life I live is different from what it used to be. They are aware that I am able to make my own money, and I also am able to mix with members of the society. I am also able to help other people through their problems, and advise them on what measures to take.

I have learnt to be confident when I go into business; I learnt about running a business; to record income and expenditure; book keeping and abuse in all its forms. I will have the confidence to go to the people and talk to them, and give them the means to make a living. I will also open a bank account and keep my books in order. I would want to see myself having a stake in creating a livelihood for the people of Lesotho.
I thank GL with the support that they have given me. I never believed that I would be in the position in which I am now as one looks back to the kind of life I have survived. GL has helped me in approaching people who can assist in the growing of the business.

(Mafumanang Sekonyela is a participant in the GL Empowering Women, Ending Violence programme in Lesotho. This article is part of a special Gender Links News Service Series for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day).

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