Mozambique – Lina Sitoe

Date: September 5, 2018
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“Before working with Gender Links, I did not know I had to make savings, I did not know how to run a business. I learned how to get a salary from my business. “ 

In 2003 I discovered that my husband betrayed me, and there was a fight in which the two of them (he and the lover) almost beat me, but I managed to escape. We separated, but still, we continued to live together in the same house for 12 years.

My name is Lina Sitoe, I live in the Municipality of Namaacha, Maputo Province. I attended school until the 7th grade of the old system. I am the mother of three children, two girls and a boy. 

was always an entrepreneur, shopping in neighboring South Africa and reselling here, but I did not know how to manage the profits, nor did I have any idea how to make savings and account for expenses to know what went in and what remained.

When I participated in the formations and gatherings of Gender Links, I learned how to manage the value of sales, make my own salary, make profits and monetize them, without changing the value of purchases. 

I am part of a group of 20 women formed by Gender Links, called Pfukani vamamani on Violence based, where we sensitize women to open their minds. We disseminate information so that women know where to turn in cases of violence. For example, here in the county we have an office where people can go. 

In addition, we have set up a health committee where we have 25 activists, 20 of whom are women and 5 are men. These activists are led by me, and together we work in the community and hospital giving health rights training. Because of the good results we had, the men asked to join the group of activists. 

I suffered a lot of psychological violence from my husband, and when I found out he cheated on me, we had a fight in which he and his lover almost beat me up, but I managed to escape. Then we sat down, talked and decided that each one would go their own way, but we would continue to live in the same house because he wanted to be present in the raising of our daughters. 

We lived together for 12 years in the same house, until his death in 2015, without any kind of intimacy. The people who came to visit us did not believe we had nothing else, because we lived in a peaceful environment. 

Having these meetings with Gender Links helped me to reactivate my self-esteem because, because I was HIV positive, I stigmatized myself for a long time, thinking that I would die, according to what others said.

I started looking for information and today I’m being a change agent. I was president of the Tiyani Association, which deals with people living with the HIV virus, we encourage them to seek treatment and make a new life. 

I always tell my story to people, from the problems in my marriage to my state of health, and they are hard to believe, when they see all the problems that I have missed. This is a way I found to motivate them not to hide. 

My dream at this moment is to finish my establishment here at home so that I can change the area of business. Age and health do not allow me to make long and constant trips, which is why I am thinking of marketing other products that I can buy in the city of Maputo. 

Gender links have helped us a lot, but now it is difficult to continue the program, because even the weekly meetings rarely happen. Just when they tell us that someone from GL comes here, we try to get together.

So I think we need a local Gender Links coordinator with us so that we can continue what we have already started. Some moms nowadays, cannot return the value that has been loaned to them, and this creates a situation of discouragement.

Gender Links should indicate a responsible person who will monitor the groups to give more dynamics to the charts.