Zimbabwe: Ester Msindo

Date: September 20, 2018
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“My success in business has helped me appreciate myself and to believe that l can become a well-known business woman.” – Ester Msindo.

Ester Msindo encountered Gender Links (GL) in July 2014 at Zvimba Rural District Council offices. When she met the GL staff for the first time, she was amazed by how they were patently treating her. She wa introduced to the entrepreneurship programme and given a clear explanation about the programme.

“I wanted to be revived after experiencing violence as l could not do it alone. GL came with the solution. The violence had tormented my spirit and took away my confidence,” Msindo.

Msindo an other beneficiaries of the entrepreneurship programme started the training after writing their ‘I’ stories. She vividly recall one of the first topics on self-esteem and self –confidence which she found very interesting.  She was motivated by some of the examples which were being used as teaching aids by the facilitators. That is the day that she got the courage and hope that it was still possible to change her life by practicing the tips she got from the lessons she had attended.

Before her encounter with GL she was selling freezits to eke out a living. After the training she started a small business of broiler keeping.

“During that time my business of selling freezits was not making a profit due to mismanagement of funds. When GL gave us knowledge on how to be effective entrepreneurs I decided to come up with another business idea”-Msindo

From the time she applied the skills she had learnt from GL, her business life experienced a great change. She continued growing and improved the production capacity of her broiler keeping business and many opportunities were created for her. She also came up with another brilliant idea of selling manure from broilers waste.

“The idea only came after I attended the training. I am proud to be at the level I am now and it is all because of GL”-Msindo.

Msindo was exposed to GBV after the death of her husband that forced forced her to return home to stay with her family. All was well at that time until her mother passed away. She had younger sisters who still needed care and support at that time. The death of her mother left Msindo and her siblings in the hands of her auntie who was very “selfish and cruel.” She took away all the property and left the children who were supposed to be beneficiaries of the estate with nothing. She used to chase Msindo and her young sisters away from the house claiming that the property belonged to her late sister. The abuse pushed Msindo to start doing part time jobs so as to be able to provide for her sisters. From the time she was trained by GL she was empowered and started taking care of her family and the violence stopped.

“My success in business has helped me appreciate myself and to believe that l can become a well-known business woman. To my sisters, l am now like a mother to them, they appreciate and respect me for all that I did in their lives. I am now able to pay school fees for them without struggling. This change has also made me to be respected by all people who are close to me. l am now seen differently, even in the community. People now come to get advice on how to start new projects and businesses,”-Msindo.

2015 is the year that she started to fully enjoy the benefits of her hard work. She managed to have a funeral policy and a bank account. She also managed to acquire a plot where she is now keeping her broilers and growing crops. She also expanded her business and started selling clothes, kitchenware and small electric gadgets.

The programme gave Msindo the confidence and she worked hard until she became the head of Murombedzi Centre community. She feels that if it was not for this programme, there is no way she was going to occupy such an influential position in her community. The new status had placed her on a platform where she can address community members during important meetings. She is now able to effectively present GBV issues during these public gatherings.

“I wish to keep on applying all the knowledge I got from GL training in my business and be able to send my sisters to school up to the level they wish. Through hard work I would want to own a butchery in my community where l will be selling my chickens,”-Msindo.