Zambia: Clara Muleya

Date: September 25, 2018
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“From self-pity to self-sufficient, Clara`s Boutique is my testament that a woman can rise from being a victim to a survivor of GBV.”

Clara was introduced to gender Links Entrepreneurship training workshop through the Social Worker at the Victim Friendly unit of the police unit of Solwezi. She is a known young survivor of physical gender based violence who also has business interest.

Clara Muleya has just won an award as the most impressive emerging entrepreneur at the prestigious Gender Links regional summit in Botswana beating other 9 contestants from 10 different countries across SADC. She incredibly scored 89%. What is most amazing about this young woman is that she is not educated and is still 28yrs old. Clara dropped out of school after she got impregnated at a time she was still in her secondary school studies. She was married off to the older man who later on became very abusive physically and emotionally. She was brutally savaged by her ex-husband and suffered serious injuries that required her to get a police report before she could be treated.  

Although Clara was afraid to terminate the abusive relationship with her abusive husband, she realised that staying put would end up getting her killed hence she said “Enough is enough!” Through support from her mother she started a business selling curtains. She reinvested the profit that she got into buying more merchandise. Clara was lucky to be included in Entrepreneurship Phase 1 and 2 training which taught her a lot about drafting business plan, budgeting, recording of transaction and basic bookkeeping. She is very grateful that the training Gender Links provided to her for free helped turn around her business fortunes. She started to realise profit and growth exponentially.  

It is hard to miss how young Clara has managed to build her confidence that had been shuttered by her wife beating husband. She says that writing her I story helped heal the wounds and was very therapeutic psychologically.   She says the programme she has went through so far has taught her to be very innovative. An exciting demonstration of her innovative skills is when she turns long trousers into shorts when they are not being bought. This has seen all her clothes being bought and has boosted her profit.  

Clara Muleya is a driver of change in every word because she is a living example of a young mother who is bravely moving on from a chastening background and running a successful business. She is an inspiration to many young women in her community and has vowed to preach against GBV to other young mothers. Although she is not formally educated, Clara is even saying she intends to conduct a market research to see the potential for growth in her business. She is looking forward to employ more women to help her sell merchandise in Solwezi town.  

Clara says her potential customers are community members and can be reached via cell phone or direct approaching them. She already has a database list of potential customers. Clara has moved from selling her clothes in her house to renting a vending site provided by the council of Solwezi. She credits Gender Links for exposing her work to the council hence enabling her to obtain this working space without any major hustle. The young lady is very ambitious and is even cogitating running a newspaper and radio advert to reach out to more customers but she is not financially ready. She also want to register it under the companies act so that she can access finance from the bank.   

Isaac Zulu has been the Gender Links staff member that has reached out to her and she credit him for changing her life. 12 months ago she never believed she would obtain a passport let alone board a plane. All this has happened with Gender links affording her an opportunity to share her story at a regional summit. Clara says she has turned overnight from being a helpless bruised and buttered housewife to becoming a celebrated upcoming entrepreneur in Solwezi.