Makabelo Nqaphane – Lesotho

Makabelo Nqaphane – Lesotho

Date: November 28, 2015
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“I qualify to be called a driver of change because of who I have become and the impact it has had on my life and my community.”

She remembers the first time she went to the council and met with Gender Links (GL) and they were discussing gender based violence issues; they were told to write down their experiences. She said it was such an emotional exercise as there were so many women, but everybody was sitting alone somewhere and writing about their experiences.

Makabelo Nqaphane was married with three children. She lives in Mapholane in the district of Mokhotlong. She has now separated from her husband after being in an abusive relationship for a very long time. She did not see herself living without her husband as she had always maintained that her life revolved around her husband, until one day when her husband kicked her out of the house with the children. She could not forget that as it was during the night when he came from the shebeen and he was fighting with her and the children.

She went to her mother’s place thinking that he would come to his senses and they would sort their issues out, but he never did and she has made peace with the situation. Her husband used to beat her up every day in front of the children when he was drunk. When her councillor told her about Gender Links and what they want to do with gender based violence survivors, she was very excited and wanted to participate. She did not know what their intentions were, but she was eager to participate as she wanted to change her life for the better. For her the training was not just to train her, but she felt that she needed to work very hard so that she could change her life, the community’s lives and to see things in a different way.

Nqaphane feels she qualifies to be called a driver of change because of who she has become and the impact the change has had in her life and in the community. People used to laugh at her when they heard that her husband had kicked her out of the house and that did not stop her from believing in what she wanted to do. After attending all the three phases of the Gender Links entrepreneurship training she felt like a new person altogether and she knew what she wanted to achieve and what she wanted to do with her life. As much as she loved her husband this did not stop her from doing what she believed in. She mentioned that the three workshops were eye openers and she learnt so much from them, confidence was amongst the very important things she learnt.

As a woman who has depended on her husband’s salary life was very difficult as she did not have an income, but she was empowered and given so many ideas about how to start a successful business and from that time her business has been doing well as she just had to put into practise what she learnt. All these things she has learnt during the workshops helped her to change who she was, she described that she used to be very moody because she did not understand why that happened to her. She would scream at her children without reason, but after the training she was able to control her temper and able to deal with people around her without screaming at them. One of her children, Lineo, highlighted that she did not want to be around her mother because she was so moody and it would frustrate her so much she would even do badly in school, but after she attended the GL training she saw a huge difference in her mother’s life and that affects them all.

She mentioned that they are now able to sit down as a family and plan family matters together. People ask how she does it and she simply tells them it is easy. After the training Nqaphane decided to plant vegetables with the intention of selling them after drawing up an intensive business plan and doing market research that she learnt during the training and that helped her. Nqaphane is making enough money to support her family and is able to help different orphanages in her community. She has also been working with teenage mothers in her gardens so that they can see how she runs her business. She mentioned that she is only doing that to motivate them and make them aware that there is still life without the guys who made them pregnant. They are working very hard and the money is really changing their lives. She now has big market and people around Mokhotlong come to buy vegetables and she is really making good money. She even opened a bank account for the very first time in her name and she is so excited about it.

Her future plan is to grow more vegetables, maybe in different places, so that she can hire more women to work with her to change their lives too. She would like to thank GL for the incredible work it is doing in Lesotho to help these women, most of whom had given up on their lives and dreams.


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