Saima Shivolo – Namibia

Saima Shivolo – Namibia

Date: April 7, 2016
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Saima’s Restaurant – income for a survivor

“The key to success is lost without knowledge”

Saima Shivolo, a resident of Oshikuku, originally from Umbalanhu village in the Omusati region, was married for three years and is a mother of six with four other children in her care. Although she is employed as a police officer, her monthly income could not sustain her monthly expenses like taking care of the children, paying their school fees and making sure there is bread on the table. Thus she opened a restaurant in Oshikuku to feed her community members and visitors, because she saw the need for cooked food in her area.

She started her business in 2009 with the money she received from her mother as a gift. Her restaurant offers different types of food, snacks and refreshments: porridge, rice, chicken, meat, fish, chips, fat cake, eggs, and at times she sells uncooked fish, chicken and raw meat for people who want to cook at home. Saima says that her business was facing hardships ranging from her customers, employee and financial aspects of the business. Her personal life was also experiencing hardship as her husband abused her physically and mentally. This caused the business to suffer losses, but after she received training from Gender Links she came to realise that once a person’s personal life is going well then the business will start catching up. She say that now her business is picking up speed because of the knowledge she obtained from Gender Links on how to run her own business successfully. Although the violence and abuse are still present in her personal life, she says the level of it has dropped by about 80 percent.

She is now the proud owner of T Restaurant with two employees and she gives credit to Gender Links for this as she only had one employee before receiving the training, but after the training she hired another staff member. She is happy to be making a difference in other people’s lives as many of her community members continue to seek advice regarding their business and personal lives.

Saima obtained a certificate from Gender Links as an entrepreneur. Her journey at Gender Links continues for she was given an opportunity to travel beyond the Oshikuku borders to meet people who motivated her to continue as a business woman, and connected her to potential suppliers and customers for the growth of the business. She also got the opportunity to go and spend time in Windhoek at the summit.

She believes that an informed woman hardly experiences violence and abuse, because, from experience, she was enlightened on how to avoid being abused in her personal life and how to run her business successfully. Her life has changed rapidly and she believes in educating and empowering women as one of the ways to reduce violence and abuse, educating a women being the most important one. Her mind is now open and she has a vision of a brighter future opening other restaurants in other towns, and even embarking on business journeys usually taken by men.

Saima is a driver of change because not only does she influence and inspire other women in her community to strive to depend upon themselves but men and the youth are also inspired by her. At times she arranges small meetings at her restaurant teaching others who face the same challenges she faced in her life, for she believes that one day she will open a vocational school where she will teach, motivate and inspire other women to become self-dependent.

Saima’s business faces some challenges: drunk customers insult her and ask why she does not sell alcohol so that they can enjoy it with their meal and a lack of customers results in food standing for too long causing her to throw the food away.

Saima has a certificate to conduct business in the Oshikuku town that she received from the Oshikuku town council. In 2030 she hopes to be a very successful business woman running her business not only in Oshikuku but in different towns too. The plan is to hire more staff to reduce poverty and unemployment in her community and in Namibia.

Saima says she is struggling to get financial help to grow her business into a bigger one so that she can branch out. She feels that the training she received from Gender Links is not enough. More or different types of training should be introduced. This will help enlighten more women to the same level as men. She believes that the key to success is lost without knowledge.

She gives credit to the Gender Links team that were involved in all the workshops held in the Oshikuku town for a job well done.

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