Klert Emelienne – Madagascar

Klert Emelienne – Madagascar

Date: November 25, 2015
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« Change mentality to bring about changes »

Klert Emilienne is a 46 year old woman living in the urban council of Tamatave, located in the eastern part of Madagascar. She is one of the beneficiaries of the entrepreneurship training offered by Gender Links (GL) in 2013.

Emilienne is the mother of four children. Before she joined the entrepreneurship project, she lived off agriculture. At that time, the money she gained was not enough to meet her household needs. In consequence, she used to borrow money from her family and friends. In addition, after their marriage her husband was not always present.

The entrepreneurship training helped Emilienne to have stable revenue and to be more confident in what she undertakes. She mentions that all the sessions discussed during the training were beneficial for her. “The training helped me to realise that I am capable of attaining my life objectives. From then on, I made an effort to change my situation”, she says.

Currently, her business focuses on fish farming and selling fish in the local market. As she has been granted a loan from a local micro finance agency, she could expand her activity. The business plan that she established during the GL training has become her guide. Thanks to good management of her resource and expenses, she is able pay her loan on time every month.

Emilienne has become a real entrepreneur. Two years after the training, changes can be noted in her way of living. “Now, my children eat three meals a day as everyone else does, they are dressed properly and I can send them to school and plan a better future for them”, she says proudly.

For Emilienne, the fact that she is able to school her children is already an important victory. Before, she could not even find money to buy them food. In the past, people around her did not support her much. She was criticized by her neighbours, her family and even her husband mistreated her. Now, she is amazed to see that the people around her come to her for advice. She is valued in the society and has gained respect.

Emilienne says the change in her was possible thanks to her change of mentality. Before, she thought that only men should care about the financial well-being of the family. When trained, she understood that she also has a big part of the responsibility for the household and that she could undertake projects just like men do. “I realised that I have to be independent and not wait for my husband to bring money home. Since the day I started to run my own business, my relationship with my husband has also changed”. Emilienne’s husband helps her in her business and recognises her efforts to pull them out of poverty. Currently, they are working together in fish farming management.

In 2014, Emilienne’s effort was recognised at the national summit held by GL. She also participated in the regional summit in Johannesburg, the first time she had been abroad. Indeed, she never thought of going abroad one day given her sorrowful past. She says that it was an enriching and exciting experience for her. “Interacting with women from around Africa was so exciting for me. We could exchange cultures and learn from each other’s experiences”, she says.

Currently, Emilienne is leading an association of women in the council of Tamatave. This association has the objective of ending gender violence and promoting women’s entrepreneurship. Even though the association has not yet obtained funding, the council always supports their activities and its members contribute to the accomplishment of activities in the council. They have already led several sensitisation campaigns and some other activities during March.

In the future, Emilienne plans to develop her activities further and transfer her experience to other women still living in violent situations. She is working towards expanding the association in other councils to gain the support of financial partners.


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