Jenny Chapukira – Zimbabwe

Jenny Chapukira – Zimbabwe

Date: November 25, 2015
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Determining my own my destiny

“The training boosted my confidence and self-esteem. I have learnt not to keep challenges to myself but to open up and look for solutions. The skills I attained were noticed by the community and they placed me in a very influential position,” Jenny Chapukira.

Jenny Chapukira remembers the day she encountered Gender Links (GL). That is the day she started to understand that no sex is superior to the other. She was taught that destiny should not be attained by paying attention to our different sexes. The training socialised her into believing that men and women should be treated equally. She used to be a very reserved person and she was not able to share her challenges with other people. She used to keep all her problems to herself and that behaviour destroyed her life.

She joined GL for five days of training from the 18th to the 22nd of August 2014. She attended all three courses. She later attended the second phase of the training in December 2014 that lasted for five days. She successfully attended the last phase of the training in April 2015. During the entire course she was driven by the desire to learn and be empowered. After the training she worked very hard to set up her small business but she was hindered by a lack of capital. The relevant skills she acquired helped her to overcome this challenge by finding a business with low start-up costs. Initially she started by doing crocheting for cross border traders. The business grew and she started selling multiple products ranging from food and clothes to small housing utensils.

Chapukira’s husband was not providing for the family so she supported them by doing crocheting in exchange for second hand clothes. In her mind she was doing it so as not to expose the real situation that existed in her home to the community. The last thing she wanted was for the family problems to go viral into the entire community, so she worked hard to conceal the problems she was facing. Her efforts were met head on with the emergence of more players into the business she relied on. She could not withstand the competition and was pushed out of business.

At the time she encountered GL she was not doing any business. The training motivated her to start a business selling ready-made products. She quickly diversified so as to minimise risk by running a fruit and vegetable business.

“The training boosted my confidence and self-esteem. I have learnt not to keep challenges to myself but to open up and look for solutions. The skills I attained were noticed by the community and they placed me in a very influential position. I am now the local ward spokesperson, a post that I would never have occupied without GL,” explains Chapukira.

Being the spokesperson for the ward saw Chapukira attending all ward meetings and brought her into contact with different organisations. She recalled attending a workshop where she received orientation on the functions of the local authority. The council officials later appraised her in recognition of her hard work and gave her a new assignment.

“We noticed the changes that took place in the life of Jenny Chapukira and we decided to put her in a very influential position so that she could be an example to others. We tasked her to educate the community on the importance of having a sound mutual relationship with the council. She educates people on the importance of paying rates so that the council continues providing services to the people,” said Juliana Chigariro, councillor for Rimuka Township in Kadoma.

Chapukira’s husband used to verbally and physically abuse her. When she started the entrepreneurship training she made a decision not to hide her books but to leave them where her husband could access them. According to her, her husband started reading them and got interested in knowing what his wife was being taught. His behaviour suddenly changed after reading GL pamphlets and entrepreneurship notes. Since that day they started going to church together and he stopped smoking and drinking alcohol. Her husband is now spending most of his time doing voluntary work at the church.

“The training has been quite helpful in my situation. I no longer want to be interviewed on television because I might humiliate him. If the interview is to be done, he should be the one to initiate it and not me. Our relationship is good and he now has a proper relationship with our children. He supports the family. Our relatives think that I did something to him. They always asked me if I consulted a witchdoctor to resolve my problems. I keep on telling them that economic empowerment played a pivotal role in ending gender based violence in my home,” Chapukira asserts.

Chapukira now fits in well to society because of the changes that took place in her life. When neighbours face financial problems they always come to her begging for money. She is now a very influential person in society and is the link between the Council and her ward.

“In the future I have plans to own a shop. I feel indebted to GL for training me and opening new opportunities in my life. The entrepreneurship training came at a time when I was desperate and was contemplating committing suicide,” said Chapukira.


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