Botswana: Lesego Montshosi

Date: September 25, 2018
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“My family is always by my side”

I met Gender Links in 2014 when I started the entrepreneurship trainings but it is an even this year that I remember clearly. I arrived in Tlotlo Hotel at around 12 noon and wanted to take a bath. I went to the bathroom and opened the tap but I had to struggle with the tap to close it as water was spraying all over the place. I asked my friend Gofaone to come and help me and she showed me the right button to press then I was able to bath. It is funny being of the San origin but as they say in our Setswana language, “To go is to see” (go tsamaya ke go bona). Thank you to Gender Links because I would have never seen a bathtub of this kind if it was not for them. It was the first time I saw it.

Gender Links helped me knowledge about abuse which is why I am here today. I appreciated the help of Keletso Metsing who was very patient with me. I have met her multiple times and she has always been comforting and understanding towards me. On her last visit she came with a young lady, Lorato Masedi, who has been as nice. I feel free to sit down and talk to them about my life and any problems I might be having and they respond to me with love. I learned a lot from Gender Links; support, love communication and sharing, all with encouragement from Keletso. I have also received a lot of support from my family, they have always been by my side.

There has been a significant change in my life; I used to be a bully, speaking harshly to my children but now they can approach me and talk to me freely about anything. I show them love every day and play with them. Those who knew about my life during the abuse come to me now and ask me how I managed to change my life. They love the life I live now and are happy for me.

Currently I own a small bead working business in Ghanzi which helps me be more financially independent, leaving me much better off than I was before. I intend to teach other young women like me to bead so that they too can sustain themselves. I also help my younger siblings and help take care of them and talk to them about gender based violence so that they do not become victims like me. With all this effort I can say I am a driver of change.

The challenges I have faced are: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse along with financial problems. It was very hard for me back then when I was still young getting beaten, verbally abused, getting money from a man who would force himself onto me while claiming that he loved me. I no longer want to be beaten or treated that way, if I meet someone who is rude to me and does not take care of me, I take action. Gender Links trainings opened my eyes to being serious about my business. They followed me up with the workshops. Since meeting them, I have not experienced any abuse at all. My abuser died and even though I was still struggling financially, I could eat and live freely without fear. I started going to church and now I create with my own hands so that I do not suffer anymore.

In the future I want to see a growth in my business so that I am able to hire other women and help them provide for themselves. I am very grateful to Gender Links for everything and I hope God provides for them so that they can help others by opening their eyes.