Madavita Kala – Lesotho

Madavita Kala – Lesotho

Date: October 14, 2015
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It is never too late to learn new things or change your life

I had always believed that my husband had reason to hurt me and sometimes I would even blame myself saying that if I did not do certain things he would not have done what he did to me. Then I had to admit that he was wrong and had no reason to hurt me whatsoever.

I cannot forget the day that I first encountered Gender Links (GL) because my life changed from that time and I have looked back ever since. I am not sure if it would be right to say I was excited or nervous because I had mixed feelings. I did not know what to expect from that meeting but I went and luckily I met such welcoming people from GL.

My name is Madavita Kala from Mohale’s Hoek and I am married with six children. I was married at a very young age and had so many kids very quickly that I sometimes felt as though I was always pregnant because since my marriage I cannot remember a life when I was not pregnant, except now. I felt very bitter about my life as most of the time I was pregnant and I did not enjoy much of my life as a free woman.

One of the good days that I will never forget was when my village councillor called me to her place and when I got there she told me that people from Maseru would be coming to the council on specific dates and they would like to talk to me about my situation. I honestly did not like the sound of that and immediately suspected that she had told those people about my problems with my husband and as much as he was doing nasty things to me, I did not want to hurt or embarrass him if I may say so. She realised that I was not happy about the whole situation but she begged me to just go and promised me that if the people said anything that I was not comfortable with I could come back immediately, but she convinced me that I should just give it a try.

I attended the meeting called an “I” story workshop. I did not know what happened but I enjoyed the meeting very much. We were told to write stories about any experiences of gender based violence (GBV) and everybody was crying, but the facilitators were there for us as they tried by all means to comfort us during that process. I felt that I was no longer crying because my husband was abusing me but because I had conquered and managed to survive such a difficult life. Ntolo Lekau assisted me in writing my story as I cannot read and write. After she finished putting everything down that I was telling her, I felt like a new person, but she assured me that more was yet to come because she mentioned I was still going to attend three workshop phases and I could not wait and I wanted to attend them immediately.

Even though at that time I only attended the “I” story workshop I felt like a whole new person and I was ready to start my new life. The time came when we were supposed to attend Phase 1 to Phase 3 and I learnt so many things that even today I still cannot believe what I know and I realised that my life was changing even in my house. I had always believed that my husband had all the reasons he needed to hurt me and sometimes I even blamed myself. I thought that if I had not done certain things he would not have done what he did to me and then I had to admit that he was wrong and had no reason to hurt me whatsoever. I was able to sat him down and show him that it was important for us as couple to sit down and make our decisions together as before the workshops I had believed that he should make all the decisions because I was a child.

My attitude has changed for the better and I would like to thank Gender Links for that because if it was not for their workshops I would not be in this position where I know what is wrong or right. In my home I am now able to sit with my husband and make all the decisions that affect us and I could not do that before. My children are happy saying that I am able to smile again as I would always sleep and cry because I felt so powerless.

In the workshops we were told how to use a computer and our cell phones, especially to advertise our businesses. I was able to bring together a few women in our village to form a stockvel and we managed to do that, but since we did not have enough money and most of us did not have cell phones, we contributed some money so that we can all have cheap smart phones that have the basics. I taught them how best to use their cell phones to advertise our businesses and how to use the internet to find information. It was difficult because I do not know how to read and write, but I tried to give them all the information they could use in order to implement whatever I learnt from the workshops.

My husband is really supportive and has changed all his bad behaviour because I cannot even remember when he last abused me or just poked me. If I am unable to attend my stokvel, he volunteers to attend on my behalf and he even assists a lot with family chores, especially when he comes back from work. My life would not have been like this if it was not for Gender Links and I thank them so much.

I would really love to have a space where I am able sell my things as now I still just move from one place to another at the taxi rank. I would like to have more stock and be able to hire one or two people that can assist.


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