Zimbabwe: Rescued by entrepreneurial skills

Zimbabwe: Rescued by entrepreneurial skills

Date: November 18, 2015
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Zimbabwe, 19 November, 2015: Marriage denied me my freedom to participate economically and to be a social butterfly. Gender Links rescued me from my miserable situation and transformed me into a strong, confident and independent woman.

In my married life l have been abused, segregated and denied the opportunity to participate in any economic activity. Individually this tortured me to a great extent because l had to wait for my husband to bring income home every time.

Life changed in time, when my husband started coming home without any money or groceries for the family. When l tried to ask him the reasons behind this he physically and verbally abused me. Life became difficult because l lived with his family and there was no one to talk to about my problems. Instead the family segregated me and l felt lonely. We had only one child and she had a brain tumor.

My husband abandoned me and never assisted me in seeking medical attention for our child. This in a way emotionally abused me because l had no one to help me to take care of the child.

Unfortunately our child passed away. This became the hard situation in my life because l had no one to comfort me. My husband never gave me any money. He started behaving as if l was not his wife. This in a way made me feel like an outcast and miserable. I was not able to talk to anyone about my situation. I became passive and naive.

I started going to church where I was comforted by some of the church members. They became my new family and with time l realised that l should associate with different people despite my situation. I heard about Gender Links from a workshop with the Msasa project. I started attending the entrepreneurship training and that was the genesis of a new era in my life.

I attended all the trainings and was equipped with the knowledge that assisted me to be where l am today. l was given knowledge on how to manage a business and I came up with a business plan. Through the training l managed to open a bank account so as to deposit my money and save. In addition l also gained skills on how to update financial records and to market my business.

I started a baking business and l have progressed with it. I found a small place in town where l could bake my cookies. I now supply bigger shops like Choppies and Tilus. The entrepreneuship program has in a way uplifted my business because l am now able to market my business and also deal with different customers. My business has been going very well especially when l applied the entrepreneurship skills I had leant.

Through this program l have been able to share my knowledge with other people. I have been an inspiration to most of the women who have seen my struggles from my marriage up to where l am today. I have advised a few neighbouring girls on life and how to empower themselves. I also encouraged them not to be dependent on men but to educate themselves and be independent.

I am proud of myself because of the knowledge l have today as it has been an eye opener to me. It has also proved to be a vital lesson. l learnt that in life one has to associate with other people, share her problems so that she can get help and ideas. l used to stay at home and was afraid to associate with others, but when l started to participate in community activities l heard about GL.

The entrepreneurship program has played a crucial role in my life individually and in my family also. I am now able to support my family and can now give advice to people on how to handle different situations in life. The program has upgraded and uplifted me from being someone of less value in a society to be a role model.

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



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