Daliah Musasiwa – Zimbabwe

Date: August 12, 2015
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Set to bring change to the entire community

I met Gender Links (GL) at a time when I was living like a prisoner in my own house. My husband forced me to stop pursuing my education and quit my job. He argued that I was not supposed to leave the children alone while they were going to school or work. I complied with his demands because I wanted to save my marriage from collapsing. I was in a dilemma as I was expected to choose between my marriage and my career. As a result of this situation, I put my career on hold and was reduced to being destitute.

My husband realised that depriving me of the right to access education and stripping me of my financial independence would make me vulnerable. He took advantage of the fact that I was no longer working and stopped providing care for the family. Despite the fact that I was unemployed, the burden of taking care of the family became my responsibility. The thought of being unemployed as a result of rules and regulations set by my husband gave me sleepless nights, but I remained focused with the hope that one day things would change.

My husband was employed and he earned money every month end but he used it on beer while I and the children were living in abject poverty. He spent his money on extra marital affairs and his girlfriends used to insult me on the phone bragging about the money they were getting from my husband.

This situation pushed me to start a poultry production project but I failed to produce satisfactory results due to a lack of managerial know-how. I struggled with the project from 2011 until the day I met Gender Links in 2013. I heard about GL through friends and they advised me to work with the organisation. Unfortunately, my husband refused to permit me to attend GL workshops because he knew that I would be empowered and would be able to fight for my rights, the ones he restricted me from enjoying. I persuaded him to consider my plea and after refusing for a long period of time, he finally permitted me to work with GL.

My encounter with GL coincided with the entrepreneurship training programme. The training empowered me with the entrepreneurial skills. During my first workshop I received US $ 75 for transport reimbursement. I used the money to set up my business of selling eggs, sausages and mincemeat. My small business helped me to become self-sufficient and I managed to raise US $ 2 000. The business was successful because I applied the skills I learned during the entrepreneurship training. I saved money from my profits to pursue the poultry production business so as to be in line with the business plan that I had drafted with the help of GL.

With the savings I made from my small business, I managed to construct a fowl run and purchase feeding and drinking troughs. I worked very hard to acquire enough money to buy stock feeds and I purchased day old chicks. After working tirelessly, my poultry production project became functional and I was overjoyed at achieving something great in my life. I decided not to drop my initial business because I wanted to diversify and minimise risk.

The economic empowerment that I achieved through working with GL changed my social life because my husband started working hard to become a better person. He started treating me with respect and dignity. Economic independence and the ability to work hard to better myself brought peace into my home and restored my marriage that was about to collapse.

I am proud of myself and I have managed to influence my neighbour and this has brought positive change in her life. I shared entrepreneurship notes with my neighbour and assisted her in starting a vending business. She is now a successful business woman, specialising in selling tomatoes, fruit and vegetables. I assist her in keeping financial records and with other book keeping problems. I am like a consultant to her because I provide her with expert financial guidance. I have imparted the knowledge that I gained during the entrepreneurship training to her and she is now able to manage her business income and expenditure which is a prerequisite for the success of her business.

I significantly contributed to the community by sharing gender based violence information that I obtained from GL. I shared the information I gathered during GL workshops with officials from the police’s victim friendly unit. A police officer who was supposed to make a presentation to the community on gender based violence found the information very useful and I gave her GL notes and explained to her all the aspects of gender based violence.

I feel indebted to GL for empowering me through the entrepreneurship programme. I am now an informed and independent woman who no longer feels comfortable to be called a “survivor of gender based violence.”


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