Itai Makara – Zimbabwe

Itai Makara – Zimbabwe

Date: December 9, 2015
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Reaching out to the victims of gender based violence (GBV)

“As women we need to know that we are just as important as men. I now consider myself empowered and independent. I will not allow any abuse to be perpetrated on me because I am now able to demand my rights,” Itai Makara proclaims.

Itai Makara is a beneficiary of the entrepreneurship programme who resides in Tshovani Township in Chiredzi. Before her encounter with Gender Links (GL) she used to be a person who could not distinguish between right and wrong. She said that her status was a result of the lack of relevant knowledge and a clearly defined direction. She found it very difficult to be independent when it came to making important decisions. This was largely because she lacked confidence.

“Thanks to the entrepreneurship training I received from GL I have been able to appreciate what it means to be an entrepreneur and to manage a business. This has helped me a lot because I am now business minded,” according to Itai Makara.

The knowledge she received from the entrepreneurship workshop has added value to her personal life and the entire family. She is now able to create a budget, speak confidently with clients and run her business professionally.

“My husband gradually developed an appreciation for what I do. He used to be against women who go into business. He had a misconception that business women are promiscuous. I convinced him that it was the wrong view of business women and one cannot paint all women with one brush,” Makara says.

Makara’s neighbour, Lorcadia Dzingirayi, thanked GL for changing the lives of survivors of gender based violence. She said she observed the life of Makara being transformed and wishes that the programme could cascade down to many people who are suffering in silence. “Itai Makara was living an unpleasant life that was dominated by violence. It was not possible for me to spend a day without rushing to their house to stop a fight. I am very happy because I do not remember the last day I heard them quarrelling or fighting. They are now spending most of their time at their businesses together. I am also glad to finally meet the people who influenced the change that took place in the life of my neighbour.”

Once she was equipped with entrepreneurial skills, Makara was a changed person. She is now able to assist her husband with financial issues, something which she was unable to do before her encounter with GL. She confessed that she used to blindly agree to all the monetary decisions made by her husband. Lack of confidence used to prevent her from contributing her thoughts on issues that affect the family. She now has a greater say on household finances. She learnt that everybody is relevant in life and a person can never realise his or her full potential before she has tried the task at hand.

“I believe that entrepreneurship training taught me to be independent and not to be underrated as a woman. I want to make it known to everyone that the programme is helpful and GL should extend it to many vulnerable women. There are many women who need assistance, but do not get the opportunity that I received. I hope that the previous training exercise will not be the last of its kind,” Makara says.

Makara’s husband was surprised when he saw her being transformed into a new person. She no longer spent time sitting at home, but ran around looking for business opportunities. The situation reduced the levels of GBV in their home. With the way Makara’s business activities are progressing she is looking forward to buy her own car. She feels that there is still a long way to go, but she is confident that her dream will become a reality.

“My husband’s relatives used to make my life difficult. They did not express any loving feelings towards me because they viewed me as a backward and uneducated housewife. To my surprise their attitude has changed. They now look at me with respect because I am now making money. They used to ill-treat me because I was broke and I had nothing tangible to offer them. They also had the wrong perception about my relationship with Gender Links. They believed that I was being taught to undermine my husband. Unfortunately, when some people get to hear that women are being taught to empower themselves they think that they are being taught how to destroy their homes. With time, my relatives have become more accommodating, especially after they saw how much I was contributing to the family. To be honest, I am past the stage of being bothered with people who do not see me in a positive light, especially when I am working to improve myself,” asserts Makara.

Makara is glad to announce that her husband no longer abuses her because he has seen the value she brings into the marriage. She wants to thank GL for opening her eyes and widened her horizons.

“As women we need to know that we are just as important as men. I now consider myself empowered and independent. I will not allow any abuse to be perpetrated on me because I am now able to demand my rights. I used to be a quiet person but I came out of my shell. Interestingly, those people who used to laugh at me have seen the changes that have taken place in my life. They are now envious of me. I want to thank GL once more because I am now highly recognised among other people. I am particularly thankful for the trainers who left the comfort of their homes to come and teach me. They have rescued me from mental bondage,” claims Makara.


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