Sakila Hammath – Mauritius

Date: November 30, 2015
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My outlook on life has taken a drastic turn.

On the first day of the entrepreneurship workshop I was quite stressed. I had left my sick daughter at home and it was the first time that I would be attending a workshop so I was not sure what to expect. I was feeling nervous as my thoughts were still back home with my daughter, despite being physically present at the training. But I am glad I stayed. Had I not stayed, I would have missed the time of my life.

I first met Gender Links (GL) for the entrepreneurship programme back in 2014. The second time I encountered the organisation was at the entrepreneurship forum where I met several other women entrepreneurs from all over the island. I was relieved to know I was not alone.

I am a painter, but I also collect small jobs here and there wherever I get the chance. So in the morning after cleaning and tidying up my house, I go and clean the house of another person and then I come back and tend to my vegetables. I also sell vegetables at the factory in my area. I have a good market there so I can make some decent money from it. I plant a little bit of everything such as Okrah, leafy greens, beans and chillies, amongst other things. I even cut some of them into bite sized pieces as my clients work at the factory and they have no time to do all this when they go back home. I just want to help them. So in other words, I provide a service as well as sell products. Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted to help and serve people.

My outlook on life has taken a drastic turn. Everything has changed. My husband used to drink and he would come home, shout and terrorise the children, make a mess, sometimes hit me and then sleep. I was terribly affected by that, but after the death of my child two years ago, he started to change. We were deeply affected. The training at GL came just at the right time. I started to go out and talk and socialise. It helped me a lot. I became more aware of my rights and when I went back home I would apply whatever I had learned. First of all, I changed the way I used to talk to my children. I realised that I was venting my frustration on my two surviving children so I changed the way I spoke to them and in turn they responded well. Had it not been for GL, I do not know what I would have been doing now or how my life would have been now. I really appreciate Miss Sabrina; she talked to us as though we were children on our first day at school. I really liked her approach. I learned how to socialise better with people, how to make friends and how to find better ideas and markets to promote my business.

My children have responded positively to this change. They cooperate with me. They help me around the house with the household chores. My husband is very supportive as well. He does things on his own and urges the children to act likewise. I feel so blessed.

My neighbours have always talked behind my back. When I used to go out for training they would talk among themselves and laugh saying I was leaving my house and children to go and gossip among friends. They were jealous of my children being so helpful. I just did not pay attention to them. I know they were speaking and acting out of jealousy. I do not think what they say is worthy of all the effort I have made. I want to be well known for my painting skills. I want to create a name in that field because one does not see many women painters these days.


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