Zimbabwe: Hamunyari Kwendambairi

Zimbabwe: Hamunyari Kwendambairi

Date: May 12, 2021
  • SHARE:

“I had lost all hope and self-esteem and I thought that was the end of my life until I met Gender Links who made it possible for me to pick the broken pieces and start again.  I am grateful to Gender Links.”

 ‘I felt as if I was worthless, valueless, insignificant, and useless; all the words one can think of that could describe being useless until my encounter with Gender Links. I gained self-esteem and regained confidence.  Thank you, Gender Links, for bringing my life back.’

I am a lady aged 42 and got married in 1991.  My husband worked at a reputable retail holding company.  For 20 years since I got married, we lived happily. I was a cross border trader being assisted my husband to look after the family. My problem started in 2011 when my daughter got ill.  She was as if she was possessed. My husband suddenly stopped coming home like he did before and he never sent money.  I had to seek medical treatment for my daughter on my own.  My husband started saying he no longer loved me from nowhere and he wanted me out of his house.  I refused to leave the house and told him that I did not need his money to survive, I had my business where I earned money.

My husband dumped all my property and belongings in a nearby bush.  He called the police and I was ordered to take my property back home but he refused.  I then went to collect my property and belongings where they had been dumped and put them back home.  My husband continued to harass me and did not give me any money for food so I applied for maintenance since I had stopped doing my cross-border business because of all these issues. My husband was arrested in 2014 for failing to pay maintenance.

Unfortunately, my husband died in Jail in November 2014.  The situation got even tougher for me. I became everyone’s enemy in the community including the village head who blamed me of getting their relative arrested.  It was my fault that he died in prison, they could say. Nobody told me of my husband’s death, he was buried in my absence and my children as well. After my husband’s burial, my brothers-in-law came and ordered that I leave my house.

My inlaws tried in all their means inherit my husband’s property.  Life was not easy for me.  My children needed food and shelter.  Everyone in our village neglected me.

I lost all hope and self-esteem and thought that was the end of my life until I met Gender Links who made it possible for me to pick the broken pieces and start again. Through other individuals who knew me, I was referred to the council for assistance and I was listed as a GBV Survivor.  Together with others, we were enrolled for a life skills training programme named the Sunrise Campaign and that was my first encounter with Gender Links.

Thandiwe Mlobane, the facilitator then changed my life through her training.  She told us that there was still room for us to be better people.  She encouraged us not to look down upon ourselves.  We learnt a lot regarding life skills and bit by bit  I realized I was someone in life.  During the entrepreneurship training, we developed a business plan which I used to run my own business.

I started the business using the allowances I got from Gender Links during the pieces of training.   I sold cosmetics at the time.  Everything was moving according to plan.  I documented every transaction using the basic bookkeeping knowledge that I learnt from Gender Links.   My children went back to school and I started developing my household. My dressing even improved, I bought myself better clothes and I was able to give my children three decent meals per day; my household income has improved.

Credit goes to Thandiwe Mlobane and Gender Links staff.  They were patient with us. At first, I thought I could not understand their teachings but their patience helped me sail through. The other person who gave me hope is the Murewa RDC Gender Focal Person who continued to encourage me to move on and forget about my worries.  She took me to another stage where I could challenge other GBV Survivors and encourage them to pick up the broken pieces and start over.  I now have confidence and I can stand in front of people giving a presentation.  I managed to open an email address and bank account.  I managed to present during the 2020 SADCProtocol@Work summits and I did it with confidence and performed very well.   My close relatives now see me as someone helpful in life.   They even consult me on family-related issues.  That is because of the empowerment I got through Gender Links programme.

I also contribute towards developmental projects in my Wards through the payment of development levies which I never did for before I started my business.  My community now knows me as someone who transforms the lives of GBV Survivors.

The Council managed to come up with policies to empower GBV Survivors because of the milestone development they picked from us.  They saw that it was necessary to assist survivors of GBV, now there is a standing policy for that.

I hope to acquire a business stand and employ at least 4 employees