Vero Marie Celestin – Mauritius

Vero Marie Celestin – Mauritius

Date: June 30, 2015
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Vero Marie Celestin is a food sales woman; her products range from pickled vegetables to home baked cakes, juice and samosas. The business started out of her domestic work experience, where she was encouraged to store pickled vegetables in jars. What was a personal hobby grew into a income generating business when a friend of hers purchased a jar of pickled fruit from her. Before attending the entrepreneurship training from Gender Links, Marie Celestin had no concept of how to run a business in a more formal profit making way. Down to the essentials, like opening of a bank account in order to save her profits, she is learning the essentials. To this date has not opened a bank account, but she is confident and certain she will on return home.

Celestin says the Gender Links training equipped her with the confidence and practical skills to confidently become an entrepreneur, and take her work seriously as an income generating avenue. “My family is supportive of my venture and my children too. On a more business personal note, I still need to work on the marketing side. I do have a lot of clients, client service and marketing are the weak links for me.” Currently the business has low input costs, as Marie gets fruit and vegetables from surrounding fruit trees in her area, and vegetables from either family members or her own home garden. Her biggest input spend is on spices and chillies, as well as ingredients for the samosas and cakes.

As a member of the Women’s Association Mauritius, Marie Celestin came to know of the Gender Links entrepreneurship training, and attended the training last October 2013. The challenges in the training were mostly literacy limitations on her part; she ended her education in primary school, as she grew up in a poor family and thus education beyond primary school was not possible. During the training Gender Links was very supportive. Though she did not know how to read and write, there was translation and teaching in Creole which helped her a lot. “In the beginning I was not so confident, but after the course, I become proactive and my self-esteem was boosted.”

Though not a survivor of GBV, she has faced many poverty related challenges, and with an alcoholic husband providing food and other basic household needs has been difficult. “Woman must not stop nor let oneself down when faced with impossible obstacles; one must overcome all difficulties and believe in themselves.” Marie has ideas about the future, and will explore prospects to grow the business and have a small restaurant and centre in her yard that would be helpful to her children. The centre would also assist her in her education. She plans on adult literacy programs, to give her the basics of learning to read and write. She has already worked out the cost and planning for the venture, so she has goals to work towards.


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