Patricia Zunga – Zimbabwe

Patricia Zunga – Zimbabwe

Date: November 18, 2015
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From a bashed woman to a prominent decorator

Patricia Zunga used to be someone who relied heavily on her own knowledge and experience to make business decisions. The only problem that she faced in relying on her own knowledge and experience is that it was not adequate or relevant. What she claimed to know was actually incorrect.

“I thank Gender Links for the effort they put in to imparting expert knowledge to me. There is an American proverb that says ‘life begins at 40.’ If it is anything to go by, my life had not yet begun. I used to put a lot of effort into the business with little return. I have now figured out that business is about a combination of both physical and mental exertion,” says Patricia Zunga.

Zunga operates a decor and catering business. Her business never used to perform very well and she used to spend sleepless nights trying to figure out where she was going wrong. She thought she was doing what was required, but she did not see any results. She was fortunate to be included in the entrepreneurship training programme. She managed to identify her mistakes and take corrective action. During the entire training she kept on asking the trainers for advice as to what she should do to increase sales or build good customer relations. She realised that she need to take advantage of such forums to talk about her business.

“It is possible to get good advice if you ask the right questions. I learnt that an entrepreneur can be a man or a woman. There is a tendency for people to identify entrepreneurship with men. This is a wrong way of thinking because it discourages women from becoming entrepreneurs. Anyone can be an entrepreneur with the right training, advice and mentoring. This is the advice I intend to preach to my female counterparts,” Zunga asserts.

Entrepreneurship training changed Zunga’s social life and she is now confident and decisive. She now has the courage to speak at public gatherings. She worked hard to fight her shy behaviour because she became aware that an entrepreneur can be asked to make a presentation in front of a large audience or a group of investors.

An official from Msasa Project, who cannot be named for professional reasons, said that she was impressed by the positive changes that took place in Zunga’s life. “I came to know Zunga when she came to report the abuse that was being perpetrated on her by her husband. We took her in for counselling sessions and referred her to Gender Links for the entrepreneurship training. After the training we saw her starting a decor business and within a short space of time she was economically empowered. She is now a happy woman because her husband no longer abuses her,” said an official from Msasa Project.

Zunga is taking advantage of the outreach programmes being conducted by Msasa Project to speak out so as to encourage gender based violence (GBV victims) who are suffering in silence. She uses this opportunity as a platform to tell her own story and change lives. “My household property has changed because I have also changed. I want to build a positive image of myself and my household. If my clients come to my house they should see that I am into decoration and events management. You are what you preach and if your house is shabby, it means that your product is also shabby,” Zunga states.

Zunga’s children benefited from the change that took place in her life and they are going to school without any hassles. They now view their mother as a smart woman who can take care of them. Their school uniforms are always clean and presentable. Their needs are well catered for, so they do not have anything to complain about. Her relatives have also changed their attitude towards her and they appreciate how she has managed to transform her life. They used to see her crying and begging for their assistance, after being beaten up by her husband.

“The workshop also taught me to be an excellent planner. I make sure I document all my transactions. It allows me to assess how well I am doing. I usually prepare three main financial documents. They are the cash flow statement, the income statement and the budget. If you take the time to study them, you will realise that they are not too complicated. If you read a newspaper and see financial statements spread over an entire page you could be tempted to think that they can only be done by a professional. I beg to differ because there are simpler ways of presenting business information, as we were taught by GL,” Zunga claims.

Zunga is now able to draft a detailed business plan. She also opened a bank account to keep her money safe. The last time she had a bank account was in 2008 during the Zimbabwean dollar era. She had become very sceptical about banks ever since she started having problems withdrawing her money. However, she has regained her trust in the banking system.

The workshop gave Zunga an opportunity to network. She managed to share her business ideas with the women from her group. They were very helpful because they gave her some useful tips which she successfully applied to her business.

Zunga adds: “Lastly, I want to thank the team from Chiredzi Town Council. They continue to provide me with advice on many gender-related issues. The combination of gender Links and the council is a powerful one.”


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