Mafumanang Sekonyela – Lesotho

Mafumanang Sekonyela – Lesotho

Date: December 7, 2015
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“I applied for a passport and it was the first time I had done so; I could not stop smiling”

It makes her cry time and again when she remembers what Gender Links (GL) has done for her and her first interaction with them. She remembers vividly that she was sitting at the corner of the Seate Hall where she was waiting to be given a paper and a pen because she was going to write her story. She felt very lonely because she was very sick and she did not know anybody in that place.

Her name is Mafumanang Sekonyela from the very rural area of Mapholaneng in the Mokhotlong district. She was married at a very young age and married life was the opposite of what she was hoping for in that phase of her life. She was married to a teacher and their relationship was going perfectly until she became very sick and that was when she discovered a different character from the husband she thought that she knew. He ill-treated her and left her all by herself in the house and yet he knew that she was sick and could not afford to be left alone as she required support.

Her life was so miserable and her children were still young so they could not help her. She was bed ridden and she could not do anything and her husband finally decided to move out of the house and she was left alone. One day her councillor, Mosa, visited her and told her that GL would be conducting a meeting at the council for abused women and she really wanted to go but she wondered how she would do that, because she was sick and could not move. However, she made a decision that she would just go and see what happened. When she arrived there the GL staff were so welcoming that she felt at home and felt free to write her story. Little did she know that her life was going to change from that little story she wrote.

She had a small business making flowers although she stopped working when she got sick, so things were really bad for her financially because her husband had stopped supporting her and her children. She attended the three phases of the workshop and she was greatly empowered and got many ideas, but it was difficult for her because she was sick and could not walk. It was even difficult to attend the training as she had to hire a special car to go to the training venue, but GL made it possible for her to do this because it paid all the expenses.

During the training they were told to draw up their business plans, but they were told that GL did not have money to give them, but could give them skills, so she knew from the beginning that they were not going to get any money. Although it was so difficult for her, she continued to take her medication and she got much better and wanted to put everything that she learned from GL into practice. After a few months she got a call from GL informing her that her business plan had passed and she was nominated to attend the Lesotho National Summit in Maseru. She was so excited and could not believe it. She went to Maseru to participate and she was so challenged as she was able to meet other people in her position and she learned how their businesses had grown so big regardless of the challenges they faced.

She was challenged and had many ideas and she wanted to change her life. Her happiness increased when it was announced that she had won and she was expected to go and participate in the Regional Summit in Johannesburg. She was very happy and nervous at the same time as it would be the first time she would cross the border. She was going to apply for a passport for the very first time in her life. She could not think of anything other than that she was going to work on her health so that she could get even better. After the ceremony she had to go to Mokhotlong to prepare for the Johannesburg trip. She applied for her passport. It was the first time she had done so and she could not stop smiling. When she arrived in Johannesburg she was overwhelmed and she believes that maybe she did not win because she was just too nervous, but she found something that changed her life for the better and believes that her life will never be the same again. They were taken to Maponya Mall where she met a lady who was very interested in her flowers and asked her to make more flowers for her business. She just could not believe her blessings and she could not stop thanking GL.

She was excited about going back home so that she could make more flowers, then she was in a good position to market her business because she learned those skills from the GL training sessions and she wanted to advertise her business everywhere. She got big orders and had to hire two women to help her. She now travels to Johannesburg four times a year and this is something very big for her. She had to open a bank account and she is able to pay her children’s school fees and take care of her family. The lives of the women she is working with have changed, as they were not working at all, but now they are able to send their children to school, buy food for their families and they are able to fulfil all their families’ needs.



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