SA: Julia Ramathavha

Date: September 25, 2018
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Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time

I started with the program or project in August 2013 with the “I” stories. I have learned that whatever has happened in the past it should remain in the past, it was not my fault and I am not the only women who has been abused.

I attended the summit in Benoni and it was the most memorable experience for me and there. I realised that women are doing good things with their lives and using all the opportunities presents to them, I have learnt in order to make a business grow I need to be discipline and willing to learn from other people and how to make money for my children. I was able to stand in front of other women and talk about my business, it was scary but I knew I had to do it and got the encouragement from the Gender Links staff members. 

I missed phase two of the training because of the family responsibilities but I have attended all other phases. What I have learned from the is that I can’t be using the money from the business for my personal use, I need to get a salary as well in that way I will be able to save some money for the business. It has made me to realise that I need to stock up products that are needed in the market. My main challenge has been English throughout the project because I am not able to speak or write but the Gender Links facilitators has been very helpful and explaining everything to me and speaking Sivenda, I wish I could speak or write English.  

Before the project I used to sell ready-made stuff by going house to house which was very tiring for me and used lots of money on transport. Now I have a small stall in town whereby I only pay rent, I no longer spent a lot of money of transport I was using than before. I now using most of the money to stock more and different things.  

The project has helped me with pricing my stock. I was not fine (too little), it has helped me to realise that. The Vhembe municipality has only helped me with a stall in Thohoyandou to sell. TVEP has helped me with counselling and introducing me to Gender Links program. 

I have experienced violence before the project, 12 men came into my house and raped me and my grandchild and they were never caught and since that incident I have not experienced any abuse, but one thing that is keeping me strong is knowing that I am not alone and it was not my fault, the world do not hate me. I am now confident. Most women especially here at Venda are staying in abusive relationships because the men are the providers and going back to their families is not easy as they think they will struggle more. The women are too dependent to the men and the men use that situation. 

The positive attitude that I have has helped me to help on of the women in our community who was being physically abused by her husband, I advised her to go for help either with TVEP or the police station and gave her the contact numbers for the person I know who works at the police station and will be able to help her and she went and now I can see some change in her life. The husband is not hitting and yelling at her anymore. I now don not t tolerate seeing any abuse, I speak out and give advices when I see a need to, I am not afraid of the consequences. I have learned that should not stand for any abuse. Be able to stand on my own and never to depend on any men. We need to share experiences and information with other women to build each other so that we could have a good communication. 

By the year 2020 I will have an established business and having staff members- the women from the community. Thank you to Gender Links for wiping my tears, helping me to grow my business and be a stronger woman I am today. May you grow to help other women also. God bless.