Matlotliso Leburu – Lesotho

Matlotliso Leburu – Lesotho

Date: November 28, 2015
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“I have learned that a woman can live without a man”

The first day she met Gender Links (GL) she had to write the story of her family life. Among the many incidents she remembers very well was when her husband asked her to go and get money from Qacha’s Nek, where he was working, and when she arrived there she could not find him and she did not have money to go back home.

Matlotliso Leburu was born in Mphaki and got married there at a very young age. She mentioned that she was very confused when she got married because she was not aware of all the difficult responsibilities she was expected to perform as a wife and when she had a child things got worse and even more complicated.

Her husband did not have a permanent job and he had to go around and look for piece jobs and their life was very difficult as most of the time she stayed alone with the children and she had to make sure that they had something to eat. Even when her husband found work he would not send money home, call her or even just find out how the children were doing. The children would always ask her when their father was coming home and she did not know what to say them. She was unable to pay their school fees and the boys were hired by other people to look after their cattle. She felt bad her whole life for not being able to send her children to school but there was nothing she could do.

Her councillor knew how she struggled and he told her about the entrepreneurship programme. She was very reluctant to go because she thought it would give people the opportunity to talk about her, but she went to the training and never regretted it because before that she was not doing anything, just waiting to receive money from her husband.

She believes that Gender Links has made her who she is today as she does not believe she would be where she is if it was not for GL. She learnt skills during the training and she acquired self-esteem; she is a better person now and is in a better position to make the decisions that affect her and her life. She mentioned that it was not only GL that helped her, but her councillor too, as he supported her and encouraged her to attend the workshops. GL also taught her how to deal with income and expenditure and now she knows that she is able to work out her profits and keep books. This is very encouraging for her.

As her daily work she bakes and sells bread as well as snacks to school children and she is now able to buy food for her children. She also has changed the way she sees her husband, before the workshops she did not want anything to do with him, but she is healed and has decided to give him another chance. The positive change has made such a difference that now her husband wants them to go into the business of broilers. She has since realised that the abuse has decreased and life is changing for the better.

Leburu did not only influence her husband, but also managed to convince the women in her society to form a money-making association where they share money they have saved at the end of the year. This has minimised the abuse taking place in their village as now women are no longer dependent on their partners. She has learned that a small business can be a thriving business.

She has also learned that a man is not the sole provider for the family. She is very determined to build up her business and improve her family’s life. Her plan is to see her business thriving in the future. In closing she expresses her gratitude to GL for all the wonderful work it is doing for these voiceless women.



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