Cecilia Webb – Botswana

Cecilia Webb – Botswana

Date: November 25, 2015
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If opportunity does not knock, build a door

I was one of the people nominated to represent Ghanzi Council at the Botswana national summit 2014 held in Gaborone. Although I did not win this was my best moment with Gender Links as I got a chance to spend some nights in a fancy hotel called Ave Marie. I did not have to worry about making a bed and on the first night I got a chance to have room service which people do on TV! I received an award for participation as I did not win and an honorarium for participating. I am very grateful for this experience that Gender Links has given us as I would not have had a chance to spend nights at a hotel.

People from our community have recognised that my life has changed and they come and get advice from me, I am currently teaching some of them how to sew. I also encouraged those women who do not sew to try and open a small business that will help them to support their families. I also received an invitation to workshops to inspire youth to work hard in life so they achieve success. Most of the people that I assisted are still struggling to open businesses, but are trying their best.

I am currently sewing at home to make a little money. My business has not grown but I do make a few coins that I bank at the post office. I am trying to save so that I grow my business because I have challenges with raising funds to improve my business. I sew all kinds of clothes, including shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses. With the knowledge I got from Gender Links I always ensure that I do not use all the money from the business so that I am able to save. I am grateful that I can now support my family. I can buy groceries and clothes and pay school fees. Even though I use it to buy groceries at home, I make sure that I bank some. With the knowledge I gleaned I now keep financial records indicating income and payments. This really helps because I am now able to see that I make around P2500.00 and I spent around P1000.00 per month and my profit is P1500.00. Now I know what to do to grow my business, I have to avoid spending time on one product to attract more customers and ensure that I am the best at making beautiful products.

I attended all the phases of entrepreneurship training and Gender Links taught me a great deal about how to run a business, to make business plans and bank income. They have also told us that we need to trust and know that we can make it in life. My problem is that I did not get a chance to be trained on computers and in this life it is very important to get a chance to learn how to use them. What I loved about Gender Links staff is that they are very patient when teaching us. They make sure that one understands before we close for the day. Even when I participated at the national summit they helped me to do a good presentation on my project. I am very grateful to Gender Links staff, especially Keletso, who assisted me with the business plan; she was very patient and listened to my ideas. When she saw me she was very pleased that I now look happy and beautiful and she told me that challenges are what make life interesting and we learn through them.

The training has brought many changes in my life as I have managed to restart my business and my life is so much better. My children have played a huge role in making changes in my life as they have learnt how to sew to be able to support me whenever I need assistance, on days that I am not feeling well. My boyfriend shows me respect and he has stopped abusing me because he now sees my capabilities and that I can support myself. People from my community are now inspired to start their own business because of the changes they see in my life. My neighbour, Mrs Lydia, has stood by my side encouraging me to work hard because she believes I have skills and that I love what I do.

I urge Gender Links to continue training other women so that more lives are changed. I have challenges with funding and I wish Gender Links could assist with raising funds for our projects. I now believe that in the coming years my business will grow and I will be able to build my own house. Again I would like to hire more staff so that I am able assist others. I intend to use my savings to buy sewing machines and more material. Thank you Gender Links for supporting and giving me the strength to survive.



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