Gontle Motang – Botswana

Gontle Motang – Botswana

Date: November 25, 2015
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Cross border trading

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced”

My most memorable experience was in phase one of the entrepreneurship training when old people in our group would cry and go outside every time they shared their experiences of violence. I could see that the violence has been going for a long time and the instructor was able to comfort them. This encouraged me and motivated me to attend the workshops as at first I did not know the importance of the training.

After completing the training I started to share the knowledge I had learnt during phase one which was about violence. I shared with the girls that I know who have the talent to do things for themselves and have been suffering from emotional abuse from parents and siblings. One girl who had the talent to plait hair was able to change her life as I encouraged her to attend this training. She managed to open her own business and now she can support her children and her family. She now runs a small salon from her home.

Gender Links has helped me understand the need to stand up for myself and grow my business, now I am able to travel outside the country to buy my goods. The business has grown and I have added new stock. The training sessions also helped me to understand the marketing gap and this helped my business. Now I understand what my customers need. When we met Gomolemo she was patient and helped those who did not understand. My best moment was when we stayed at the hotel and were looked after by others, we slept without making our own beds and were given a free holiday. This was the first time I had slept in a hotel as I cannot afford it and I am grateful.

I was able to grow my business and get a permit to buy goods from outside the country with the income I receive from the small stock I held. I used to sell only watches and bags, but now I sell all kinds of clothes for both females and males, including shoes. Thanks to Gender Links my self-esteem has increased and I can control my emotions. Gomolemo always gave us hope to look forward and stand by our decisions and she appreciates us. I calculate profit and loss now and save my money and am able to see a profit. My two siblings gave me the money to start my business and they encourage me to open a bank account and showcase my stuff to people from within our community.

My business has grown so much that I am able to pay school fees for my son and not depend on anyone to assist me with money. My siblings always tell me that they are happy that I am able to do things for myself. Every time my stock is finished and I collect money from clients, they encourage me to put money in the bank.

I also encourage other to work hard and believe in themselves. A woman whom I invited to Gender Links workshops is now able to run her business. She is also able to make money to support her family. I now have a car so that I can take my goods from one place to another. I still believe that I can achieve more than what I have achieved so far because of the love and passion I have for my business.

The challenges I face are the lack of money and sometimes my car does not work well so I do not have transport to take my goods from one place to another. Also when buying goods outside the country, borders sometimes close and I am forced to sleep at the border gates. With regard to this challenge, I was able to make friends at the borders and learnt a lot such as the times that the buses cross the border during the day. These friends also lend me theirs cars or I lend them mine, as we now help each other even though we are in the same business.

When the business grows I want to open boutiques, move my goods from car boot to a shop and later open a chain of boutiques that can employ more people.

I suggest that Gender Links gives us certificates to show people how well we have done or how much we have learnt. Thank you for the knowledge and time Gender Links gave us and the patience they have shown.


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