Veronique Celestin – Mauritius

Veronique Celestin – Mauritius

Date: October 2, 2019
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Building on my self-esteem with the help of Gender Links

One of the most memorable experiences that I have had with Gender Links was our first meeting where all of the survivors told their own stories and I told my story to others who were just like me. We all learned that we are not alone and that other people understand us. I felt free and all of us cried. It was a defining moment for me.

Gender Links taught me how to stand on my own two feet and take my little enterprise seriously. I sell pickles and make small cakes.

Through the experience of meeting with other survivors of violence, Gender Links opened my mind to the suffering of others. Even though I am unable to read, I am not afraid to step forward, open up to people and stand up for myself. I was a wary, reticent and cautious person who never opened up to anyone. They showed me the importance of speaking out.

After the summit, where I was a winner in the category of emerging entrepreneur, I undertook some radio and television interviews. I had to speak out and open up.

Gender Links can take three quarters of the credit for my transformation. They showed me how to stand up for myself, show my qualities and most importantly how to open up and speak out. Anushka Virahsawmy always comforted me when something was wrong, she had the right words and she made me feel more confident.

Through the entrepreneurship training, Gender Links taught me packaging methods as well as accounting and marketing techniques and how to show off my qualities, but most importantly to stand on my own feet. I am now a happy and independent woman.

Danny, mostly known as Fidou, is a social worker who has helped me a lot. She was always at my side when I had to do paper work. She encouraged me through difficult moments and encouraged me to be who I am today, an independent woman, who stands on her own feet and has the confidence to step forward.

I am closer to my children and family, since I now express myself more. My family has benefitted because I am more economically independent. My children are very proud of me; I am independent and stand on my own and am more respected.

I have bought new ideas to the community and am building and improving on what I can do and what I plan to do.

The biggest challenge for me was the fact that I was not able to read. It was hard for me during the courses and the preparation of my enterprise. Fortunately, I have friends and my children who always help me. Unfortunately this is still a problem.

I have now launch my own business and I sell a greater variety of food on a larger scale. I have a mini shop and snack in my yard and also sell pickles and sweet cakes to hypermarkets. I am involving my children and I want to create a family business. My daughter now helps me a lot in the mini shop.

In the future I will work on myself more and build my self-esteem and I will always be thankful to Gender Links and those people I met on my way during this journey.

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