Matsiu Koali – Lesotho

Matsiu Koali – Lesotho

Date: November 28, 2015
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“My life is an inspiration to others now”

When she first came across Gender Links (GL) the objectives of the training were explained to her. She was told that she would be writing an “I” story and be given information about what Gender Links is and what it represents. The workshop participants were trained on abuse and how to can protect themselves against abuse and how to develop their self-confidence. She managed to attend all the three phases of the entrepreneurship programme hence she was empowered.

Her name is Matsiu Koali from Ntsupe Council in the district of Qacha’s Nek. She calls herself a very rural and modest woman. After being abused she did not want to be with other people as she assumed that they were talking about her and she hid in her house. Even the councillor who invited her to the GL training worked very hard to convince her, but now she cannot stop smiling when she sees what GL has done for her. She found the training very important as it taught her about self-worth and to detest abuse. It taught her love; to love herself and be confident in any situation. She could not stop talking about the business skills she gained during those training sessions and how they made her business very successful.

She had quite a number of challenges as she is a very shy person who does not even talk about who she really is; but after gaining some knowledge from Gender Links she trusted in herself and was more confident. She found everything to be important as she felt that previously her life was aimless, and she did not know where to get help. She felt renewed after all the training and she wanted to help other people who were in her situation.

When people look at her now they just cannot believe the change in her because she had been doing nothing with her life, waiting for people to feel sorry for her all the time. She was just somebody whose future seemed very gloomy. She added that she used to survive on hand-outs. But now she is excited because she is finally doing something for herself thanks to GL. She has a small business where she sells hair pieces and earrings and she also grows vegetables to sell.

The change in her has helped her to change the way she interacts with her husband and all the family members. She was always angry with her husband, as though he was the one who abused her and she did not want to let go of that anger, but now she is in a good position and she has forgiven everybody who has hurt her. She highlighted the fact that even her husband now helps with the business when she is not around or when she is tired. She now works with her husband as a partner and their lives have improved; she was even able to buy a stove and this is something very big that she has never done for herself. Her children are so happy that their mother can now afford to buy them food and pay their school fees.

She mentioned that even the council, through the council secretary, Leeto Moiloa, helped her very much as Leeto encouraged her not to lose hope and to keep pushing. Her parents and husband want to see her succeed in life; she mentioned that her husband asks her on a regular basis about the training and if it helped her. Being abused at a very young age nearly changed who she was, she was abused by people in her village and was told how ugly she was, that she was full of herself, and people spat at her for no apparent reason. Some even went to the extent of beating her up.

She explained that the abuse does not happen that much these days as she is now able to stand up for herself and she has regained her self-confidence. Her life is an inspiration to others now. They see how she lives her life and how it has changed, and they want to be like her, change their lives for the better and become brave people who are confident and respected. Her life is different now as she has learnt to fight abuse in all its forms. Women are also able to build their own small businesses and this improves the economy and minimises abuse.


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