Mabonang Moleko – Lesotho

Mabonang Moleko – Lesotho

Date: October 21, 2015
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Before this training I would keep quiet and suppress my thoughts and feelings regardless of whether it was something that I needed to talk about it, but now I am in a space where I say anything at any time without fear.

I still remember vividly the first time I met Gender Links (GL). It was in 2013 and I was told by my councillor that GL wanted to meet with survivors of gender based violence (GBV) and knowing me, he asked me to go there and see if it was something that I would tolerate. I laughed because I wondered why he asked me to go in the first place if he was not sure about it, but I went and I never looked back from that day. I remember very well that we were about 20 women from different areas in the Mazenod Council board room and I must say I was shocked to see some of the women there whom I would never have thought would have experienced GBV in any form. We were asked to share our life experiences in writing and I do not know why I felt that way, but I was excited as if I was writing something very interesting. From that moment I felt strong as a woman and I actually believed that I could achieve anything as long as I set my mind to it.

I am Mabonang Moleko from Mazenod Community Council and I own a poultry business which I run by myself. I struggled a lot to ensure that my business survived and sometimes when I look at where I have come from I just do not believe that it is really my business, especially because most people in my village thought I would not make it.

After writing stories about our experience of GBV, we were told that we were going to be taught life skills, how to run a business, draw up business plans and work on our personal development to help in shaping our lives. I am a very reserved and quiet person and most people think that I am rude. These workshops helped me to change my character as I now verbalize my views irrespective of whether they are acknowledged or not and this is something that I learnt from the GL training.

Before these training sessions I would keep quiet and suppress my thoughts and feelings, regardless of whether it was something that I needed to talk about or not. I believe that I would not be in this kind of position if it was not for GL. As a Mosotho woman, I grew up knowing that a woman is a child and therefore I am not expected to say anything, I should just agree to anything that my husband said.

I also learnt how best to manage my business and for me this was very important because I was already running the business, though I did not really know how to manage it as I was just managing it as best I could.

I could see that my life was changing because I was able to apply everything that I learnt from the workshop in my house and my children could not stop telling me how happy I seemed and how my life has changed. My relationship with the one child has improved remarkably and we have such a strong relationship, unlike before when we used to fight so much. Our relationship is much healthier because he is now free to open even mature conversations with me. My child respects me so much and he tells me that he is so proud of me. It was a sad thing for me when I could not discuss anything with the child because he was told that his mother was crazy and cannot say anything that is positive and makes sense, and therefore when he saw me he used to see this very crazy woman.

The change that I see in my life and that my family is enjoying, is not only affecting my family but even my neighbours are seeing it and some are also benefiting. There is a recognisable change at the community level with regard to me. I run a successful business to the extent that members of my community approach me and consult on business ventures they want to start. It feels so great when people consider you as a very important person in the village. People send teenage mothers to me so that I can help them and equip them with ideas on how they can became entrepreneurs. I am now a mentor in my village.

I believe I have gained most of my knowledge through my own experience and through GL’s training sessions. In the future I would really love to own a very big poultry business that people all over the district will know about.


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