Lesotho:*Mabota Koloi*

Date: June 19, 2019
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She remembered her first interaction  with Gender Links (GL) back in  2015 and they were told to  write their “I” stories, even though she was scared she was looking forward to write her story as she had so much to write because she has been through a lot . Through the training the participants were trained on abuse and how to they can protect themselves against abuse and how to develop their self-confidence. She managed to attend all the three phases of the entrepreneurship programme hence she was empowered.

Her name is *Mabota Koloi* from Ntsupe Council in the district of Qacha’s Nek. She calls herself a very rural and modest woman. After being abused she did not want to be with other people as she assumed that they were talking about her and she hid in her house. She didn’t want to be around people as she was afraid that people also might ask her what was wrong with her. The councillor who invited her to the GL training worked very hard to convince her to come and had to even lie to her husband about the purpose of the training.

She learnt so much from the training and had a picture of how her life was going to turn out after the training little did she know. As much as she enjoyed the trainings as she thought her life was going to change for better things did not work out. *Mabota highlighted this in one of her story in 2016 “The change in me has helped me to change the way I interact with my husband and all the family members. I was always angry with my husband because he was the one who abused me and I did not want to let go of that anger, but now Iam in a good space and has forgiven him and everybody who has hurt me .The fact that even my husband now helps with the business when Iam not around or when Iam feeling tired speaks volume” She said.

It is unfortunately that after many years her life has taken few steps back instead of improving for better. She used to sell hair pieces and earrings and also grew vegetables to sell, but all those things taken a very bad turn. She mentioned that after her husband realized that her small business was doing so well he changed; he would just start a fight with her without no apparent reason, sometimes he would even accuse her of sleeping with some of her cutomers.He stopped her going around village selling women hair pieces as he was saying that is where she is meeting her lovers and she stopped from selling around, but continued selling at her place. She mentioned that by doing that she thought her husband would be happy and stop abusing her.

“Everything I did was to make peace with my husband, as I don’t like when we are fighting,Iam a very calm and soft person and it stresses me so much to find myself arguing and hurt everytime.I tried everything and still trying but everything seems not helping” she said with teary eyes. *Mabota thinks as much as GL tried so much to empower her so that she can change her life and even of her husband for better everything seems not working and she felt like the knowledge she got from the trainings has made it worse. She was hoping that in 2019 her life would be different and her business would have grown big, but now she lives under fear because she doesn’t know exactly what her husband is planning. She also mentioned that it’s difficult now because even her husband has quit his piece job because he was claiming that he needed to be around all the time to see who comes and goes from their place to buy. So their life is very difficult at the moment and she has accepted that she can’t work for herself because it makes her husband angry and she is thinking of stopping to sell everything for the sake of peace.

*Mabota Koloi* not her real name.