Southern Africa: From GBV survivors to entrepreneurs!

Southern Africa: From GBV survivors to entrepreneurs!

Date: August 27, 2014
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Johannesburg, 27 May-“I am a survivor of gender based violence (GBV). Being a victim did not pull me down but it encouraged me to stand up for myself and do something, hence my decision to venture into business.”

These are the words of Tebogo* from Botswana. Hers is one of the many inspiring and motivational success stories of women who survived GBV but did not let it define their future.

Tebogo is one of the 21 women presenting at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol@Work Summit currently underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is presenting in the emerging entrepreneurs category.

Tebogo said that her foremost motivation was proving to herself and everyone else that life goes on and things get better if you take charge of your life as a woman, regardless of past abuse and discouragement.

She wants to establish and register a catering business that will supply food to her target market and cater for events.

Gomolemo*, also from Botswana says she wants to venture into poultry business, a project that she hopes will help her reduce poverty in her family, create jobs for the people in her area and also help her personally by reboosting her self esteem and confidence. She dreams of the day when her poultry project will expand to other countries such as South Africa.

Ntolo* and Phumzile* from Lesotho and Mirana* from Madagascar are also some of the many survivors of gender based violence who have risen against all odds to empower themselves and other women in similar situations by coming up with projects that will ensure self employment and economic empowerment.

These women have risen above challenges to become businesspersons through the Gender Links entrepreneurship trainings where they are taught different business skills. The summits are also an important platform because they share experiences.

The SADC Protocol@Work Summit, hosted by Gender Links and the Southern Africa Protocol Alliance, commenced on Monday 26 May at Kaponong Hotel and Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. It follows 15 district summits and 13 national summits that overall involved 1345 women and 616 men (1961 participants). Winners from the national and district summits are now competing at regional level.

*not their real names

This article is part of the GL News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summit underway in South Africa, offering fresh views on everyday news.

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