Mabatlokoa Tsolo – Lesotho

Mabatlokoa Tsolo – Lesotho

Date: December 4, 2015
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“I am the manager of my own life”

The most memorable experience Mabatlokoa Tsolo has had with Gender Links (GL) was when she shared her past dark personal experience with strangers, being Gender Links. She did so because she was told that the stories would be used by GL alone, but she still did not feel comfortable to share her story. To her surprise, all the women who were there seemed very comfortable and free and were busy writing. Speaking up about the gender based violence she had experienced made her feel vulnerable and unsafe as she only could recall the horrible days she had experienced. Meeting a group of women from different age groups who had comparable experiences made her start appreciating herself. She learned from other women that her harsh experiences do not define what her future will be like.

Tsolo resides at Mantsonyane in the district of Thaba-Tseka and she learnt about GL through her councillor at the Tenesolo Council who invited her to attend the “I” story workshop. She highlighted the fact that before she became involved with Gender Links she was too dependent on her husband who was physically and financially abusing her. But through Gender Links she learned that dependency is not healthy and she decided to move out of her comfort zone. Gender Links played a huge role in the positive change she has discovered in herself because it is through GL that she regained the self-confidence she once had before she was abused.

She has stopped isolating herself from family members and has become more open about her feelings and experiences. Before meeting GL, she used to bottle up her feelings and she has formed a farmers’ association in her village where they are working together as farmers. Their business is doing very well as she has implemented all the lessons she learnt during the training. She taught these people how to draw up their individual business plans and that has helped them to be more focussed on one thing. She also taught them how to keep the books of their business.

Mabatlokoa uses her life story to help others to overcome the same challenges that she has met. As a survivor of abuse she advises others within the community and beyond on how to deal with the abuse. Community members are amazed at the change in character to the extent that she is regarded as a role model of both youth and women.

As a person who was married at a very young age and had to provide for her child, she had always thought that it was only her husband’s responsibility to take care of her and when he abused her it made her life very difficult as she depended on him. Her husband did not want her to attend the training, but she knew what she wanted and she was very willing to work hard and now she is so proud that she has changed so many people’s lives. The training she received from GL helped her so much and even changed the way she thinks. She is now able to handle pressure and has opened an email address that she uses to communicate with her friends and family. She uses her cell phone to market her products and this is something that she did not believe she could ever do.

She confessed that for years she had not cared about the 16 days campaigns, but this year she had a plan where she would work with the council to raise awareness on gender based violence issues. “People need to be encouraged to report these cases because if they report them the perpetrators will be brought before the courts of law,” Mabatlokoa said in closing.


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