Marie Rose Randamy – Mauritius

Marie Rose Randamy – Mauritius

Date: July 1, 2015
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Gender Links has given me another life. I can now speak with confidence and know what I am talking about. I thought I knew it all until I met with Gender Links. I am a Village Councillor and I do work hard for my community but was not working in a professional and organised manner until I met Gender Links. I will always be grateful.

Apart from being a village councillor, I am a women who breaks stereotypes, since I am the only woman in my region who is a fisher. I am also the only woman in Mauritius who owns a boat, and I will employ four men to work with me. As a community leader I am in permanent contact with needy and vulnerable women and children.

Gender Links was a godsend for me. Before encountering the organization, I was working hard, but was not valuing myself. I was taking things for granted. I did not realise that I was changing the lives of people in my community, because I was taking the work I was doing as well as myself for granted. I have the access being a village councillor and a community leader. I know I am a different person as I am a fighter and always fend for myself. I help people a lot and guide them to do small jobs so that they can become economically empowered. I am indeed changing the lives of people in my community, but was taking myself for granted as if this the normal course of life. I must thank Gender Links who made me realise that I am changing people’s lives.

I hope to continue working with Gender Links to build linkages with relevant organizations and the government. I hope to work with the Ministry of Fisheries to organize courses on how to row and sail boars. Women must be encouraged to join these courses. I have a boat, but still need a man to row it; I feel ashamed to say that even though I have a license, I am not confident. I feel the need for training, and I’m sure others would also benefit from it.

I now participate in a radio program called “Etre Fam” (Be a woman). It has turned me into a national figure in Mauritius. Loga gave my name to the MBC, and I was invited to talk on radio. I was the main resource person in a half day program. My experience as a fisher and the owner of a boat was highly appreciated and auditors asked questions. I was the “Shakti” (Light) of the day, and got lots of questions on how a woman can go into a male dominated field. There are women fishers, but I am the only one who owns my own boat and my own business.

I did a mock radio interview during a GL workshop, but did not get the chance to go live on radio. I am now more confident and know how to reply to questions from journalists. I am a role model to other women and through me I hope that many women are now encouraged to go into non-traditional fields. The experience on radio also gave me confidence working with the media, and now an in-depth portrait of my work is being prepared for television. It tells the story of my life, following my professional work, my work as a councillor, and my life as a mother.

I have worked with Loga, the Gender Links director in Mauritius, in two workshops: media literacy, and leadership skills for women in politics. The latter worked to develop a Gender Action Plan or the District Council of Grand Port Savanne and for a Mock Council Meeting. I now know how to use the Gender Links training manual to train members of my community. I was able to organize a village workshop. Now, I know how to get men to respect women and value them for who they are.

My region is called “Africa Town”. I encourage women to break stones so they can build walls to protect their homes, and also to use the rocks to repair muddy lanes for a cleaner environment. I have taught them how to build walls with these rocks. They feel more secured with walls. I have worked in collaboration with the National Empowerment Fund to give names of vulnerable women so that they get low cost houses. People do not know what door to knock on, but they know my door is always open. I have trained women to plant vegetables. Not only do they grow their own food but they are selling vegetables for a living. I have helped 15 families.

I also helped with a case of sexual assault in her region. I took the case to the police and I was right in doing so. I have also known a case where a father in law killed his daughter in law. I cannot stay quiet in front of such horrible violence.

In the future, I would like to employ more women to work in my fishing business. If it is possible to have boating courses for women, I think it could do a lot to improve livelihoods in this area. My boat is like a car for me. I need this for work, and it is unfortunate that I have to employ a man to sail my boat. Men sometimes drink and they do not come to work and when they do not come to work I am very embarrassed as I cannot take my boat out for fishing. Women are more reliable and I would love to employ more women. I would also like to run for the District Council. Who knows! With the new Local Government Act that stipulates gender quota, I might not only get elected again but my village might choose me to sit at the District Council table.


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