Nyaradzo Masamba – Zimbabwe

Nyaradzo Masamba – Zimbabwe

Date: June 2, 2016
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“I now have self-confidence and I am hoping for a bright future”

Memories of what Gender Links taught me about equality

“The name Gender Links (GL) brings memories of how I learnt about equality between men and women. No one should be restricted from doing certain types of jobs because of their sex,” says Nyaradzo Masamba.

Masamba joined GL in July 2014 after being introduced by Zvimba Rural District Council. She enrolled in the entrepreneurship training and was equipped with relevant business skills. The training taught her about all forms of GBV and how to fight domestic violence. Before the training she was thinking that she should focus on just forgetting her past experience of GBV. Later on she discovered that the only way to bury the past and continue with life is through occupying your mind with productive things.

“In my endeavour to escape from my bad past I attended all three phases of the training so that I would not miss out on anything,” said Nyaradzo Masamba.

Before the training Masamba’s work revolved around vending, selling second hand clothes, airtime and beverages. When selling clothes she used to do door to door sales. She said that the business failed to produce positive results because she lacked the discipline of an entrepreneur and this negatively impacted on the efficiency of her operations. The main challenge that affected her business was the failure to separate her personal life from the business. After attending the training she applied the skills she was taught and the business started to grow. She managed to increase the sales and the profit margins.

“The business is now stable and running smoothly and I am enjoying the benefits. I managed to acquire a housing stand and construction work is in progress,” says Masamba.

The training programme changed the way Masamba perceived life. The primary goal in her life was to get food on the table and for that reason she could not separate her private life and her business. By virtue of being illiterate after she failed to get basic education, she thought that she would not be able to do anything meaningful. She looked down upon herself but the training gave her the leverage to work hard and take care of the family. She is now able to send her children to school so that they will be empowered educationally.

These changes that took place in Masamba’s life were noticed by Beatrice Nyakudya who also directly benefited from these changes. She said that Masamba and her children were renting a one roomed house and the living conditions were not favourable due to the fact that the place which they called home was too crowded.

“After the entrepreneurship training Masamba worked very hard to better her life. We started a rotating credit scheme together and she saved enough money to buy a housing stand and she is currently building her own house,” Beatrice Nyakudyara.

Masamba’s past life was marred with GBV meted out on her by her brother-in-law after the death of her husband. The man saw fit to victimise the widow and grab the estate of the deceased from her. No one was concerned that she was left with two children to take care of hence the need to possess the estate, so as to fulfil that goal. The brother-in-law blamed Masamba for causing the death of her husband. The abuse, however, stopped when she decided to move back to her parents’ house to stay with them. Since that day she has lived with the trauma of what she went through.

“Since l moved to my parents’ house there has been a disconnection between my children and their father’s family. This has eradicated the chance of experiencing violence from any member of that family. Through the training I have managed to get rid of the trauma. Economic empowerment has helped me to forget my past experience. I am now able to provide for the family,” asserts Masamba.

Building a house with her own hands makes Masamba feel excited with life. This and the fact that all her children are going to school has made people in her community not look down upon her. A certain woman from her community came to her and praised her for her achievements.

Masamba managed to influence other people to start their own businesses. Previously, community members used to look down upon her and avoid her because she was a burden to them. She depended mainly on donations and borrowing. She is now the centre of attraction in her community as she always helps other women on matters related to GBV and entrepreneurship. Both men and women are inspired by her courage and hard work.

“Masamba was destitute. She failed to send her children to school and affording basic needs was a challenging undertaking that was beyond her reach. The training changed her for the better and she managed to move from the one room she rented and build her own house. Her children are now not just able to go to school but are also now always presentable as they can afford to have the basic commodities needed for survival,” according to Getrude Chikomba, Masamba’s neighbour.

Going forward, Masamba pledged to use the relevant business skills she has acquired to boost her business. She said she will continue using these business concepts and her future plans involve completing building her three bedroom house. She thanked GL for its effort in empowering women.

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