Maria Mboene – Mozambique

Maria Mboene – Mozambique

Date: December 9, 2015
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The knowledge Maria shared with her family had a positive impact in the lives of others around her.

Maria Mboene is a woman who suffered verbal violence from her husband because she grew up believing that once a woman is married she has to respect and stay with the husband no matter what happens in the house. She did know about her rights, she could not do anything but stay at home suffering in silence.

In 1983 her husband left her with six children to take care of. From that moment Maria had to choose between getting another man to sustain her and her kids and finding a way to survive by herself. Because she did not want to go through all the things she had been through with her former husband, she chose to start a business.

In 1987 Maria started to sell fish in her area (Bilene), and even went to other places like Chibuto and Chinavane to sell her product. In 2002 she heard that the council was selling space in the market, so she went there and got a space for 1050 Mzn.

Maria already had some blocks that she wanted to use to develop her house, so she took the blocks and started building a place in the market so she could start selling her fish there. Besides fish, Maria added drinks to her goods for sale and she started cooking food to sell at the shop. She still runs the same business today.

In 2014 she was called to join a group of woman for training with Gender Links (GL) about what she considers a whole new way of living. According to Maria, Gender Links taught her a lot about human rights, gender and opened her mind to new perspectives. Thanks to GL, today at Maria’s house there is no difference between the children; she treats them the same and gives them the same jobs, and opportunities. She also shared with them what she has learned about business.

Most of Maria’s children are in business; one of the boys is working in South Africa, the other one is a fisherman, he helps get the fish and other sea food to be sold at the shop and the girl, like her mother, owns a shop where she also sells fish, crabs, drinks and some vegetables.

Sandra Armando Manhique, Maria’s daughter, says that her mom played a big and very important role in her life and she is the reason behind her success. “I thank my mom very much, for everything she did for me. For raising me the way she did, for teaching me everything I know. Today I can take care of her, buy her whatever she needs, all because of the knowledge she gave me”.

The knowledge Maria shared with her family had such a big and positive impact in the lives of others, that Sandra’s husband, Alfredo Vasco Manhique, stopped going to South Africa to join his wife and help with the business in Bilene. Alfredo is a fisherman, responsible for supplying the shop with the necessary sea products. Their business is going so well that they used some of the profit to open another shop where they also sell drinks. The plan is to add products in the new shop and grow the business even more.

During the learning journey with GL, Maria faced some challenges. One of them was trying to understand the forms given out at work and the writing. Because Maria did not go to school, it was difficult for her to comprehend the information that was being transmitted and what was needed from her. With the help of the facilitators and her fellow participants she managed to overcome these challenges.

In the future Maria plans to grow her business even more, so that she can employ more people. She owns a piece of land that she wants to use to build houses to rent. She wants to develop her house and continue to share her knowledge with more people.

Maria is very grateful to GL for everything they taught her, but she says that it would be good if GL could find a way to provide the entrepreneurs with funds so that they can continue with their businesses. Maria wishes that the programme did not end and that GL continues to reach other people who suffer with the different types of gender based violence.



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