Naomi Dikoli – Botswana

Date: November 26, 2015
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Some people come into your life as blessings, others come as lessons

Ever since I started attending Gender Links workshops a lot has changed for the better in my life. In the past I had no respect for my mother nor for my children, I was indeed a bad mother but now I have transformed into a better person and a respectful mother. I also respect and care for my mother and my children who are proud for me as their mother. Whenever my mother is sick I take the responsibility to take her to the clinic and do household chores including going to the fields. I am so glad that peace and harmony reigns within my family.

Despite the fact that I used to be labelled a wicked person in my community, I have since taken the initiative to lead by example in addressing issues of HIV and AIDS. People now consider me to be a very responsible person since I encourage people to take anti-retrovirals and to adhere to treatment and their routine check-ups.

I am so grateful to be able to work with Gender Links and I wish that they would also recognise my effort to promote and commend the great job they are doing. I also wish and hope that they will include me in their workshops going forward. Despite the creditable job done by Gender Links, there were challenges we encountered as participants during the workshops, for example there were no accommodation arrangements and we had to commute from Kanye to Lobatse everyday which was 50km. Despite all these challenges I benefited a lot from the Gender Links entrepreneurship programme and as we speak I have promoted my tuck shop to a shop. I am also grateful that no matter how much profit we make, Gender Links have always been supportive to us as entrepreneurs.

I confidently testify that I used to live a life without focus and meaning, regardless of my age, but Gender Links has changed my life and I have become a responsible family woman. I am so proud to be amongst people who are writing the “I” story and I thank Mma Gupter for encouraging and mentoring me so much so that my mother commended her for what she has done. My spiritual life on the other hand has changed and I have since had true friends.

It is with this background that I thank Gender Links for changing my life, especially because I have learnt a lot about gender based violence and entrepreneurship. We shared disheartening stories during workshops and I am so grateful for the knowledge that we gained. I am also a volunteer at Lesedi Council Centre. I learnt a lot from them and as we speak I am HIV positive and live a positive life. Before then, I was confused and hopeless but now I have devoted my life to Christianity. Moreover, I have also conducted a house to house campaign to invite and encourage people living with HIV and AIDS to start attending Gender Links workshops and I told them that we know a lot about gender based violence. I am now a knowledgeable and informed individual in terms of entrepreneurship and I am aware of gender based violence (GBV). Thanks to Gender Links for what I am now.


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