Zimbabwe: Lucia Lunga

Date: September 25, 2018
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“A source of inspiration for the community”

I successfully registered a mining company after I obtained entrepreneurial skills from Gender Links (GL). My encounter with GL made me realise that there is no job a woman cannot do. My thoughts were confirmed after I noticed that men were flocking to the United Kingdom to do care work, a job usually associated with women in our country. I then told myself that if men can do jobs “preserved” for women, I can also do anything, even if it is expected that it be done by men only. I am happy that I managed to invade an area that is dominated by male competitors and operate at the same level as them.

As a survivor of gender based violence, I went through bad experiences that made me realise the importance of being self-reliant. Unfortunately, I lacked the knowledge on how to attain economic freedom because I finished my education at Ordinary level, got married and confined myself to the kitchen.

GL came into my life when I least expected it. My encounter with the organisation opened new opportunities and my lost confidence was restored. GL came at the right time and gave me something that I was yearning for, the knowledge of how to achieve financial freedom.

After I underwent entrepreneurship training conducted by GL I used the money that I received as transport reimbursement to set up my business. I purchased three boxes of chicken cuts at a cost US $ 45. I sold them at the local market and I realised a profit of US $ 135. My aim was to register a construction company but the UD $ 180 I realised after selling chicken cuts was too little since the registration fee was US $ 300.

I approached the Registrar of companies and I presented my case and they accepted my plea. I managed to register my company with US $ 180 with the promise that I would pay the balance

after setting up the business. My company was supplying river sand and pit sand to construction companies. I was hiring vehicles from transport operators to deliver the service. Later on I managed to buy my own vehicle for transport logistics.

I used the knowledge I attained from GL to set up a poultry production business through a partnership. We negotiated with a local company to supply us with the necessary equipment and we entered into a lease agreement with a local farmer who gave us fowl runs with a carrying capacity of 15 000 birds. Unfortunately the project failed, but I remained focused and vowed to continue trying.

While I was still pondering the next move, a local white man approached us and told us to start mining silica. He told us about the silica stone that is found in our area and we were surprised because we were not aware that it was a useful resource. I took the issue seriously and the skills I attained from GL helped me make the right decision.

After acquiring knowledge about silica, our sponsor gave us cash and equipment worth US $ 17 600. I later became an expert in mining silica stones and the company engaged 20 employees, that is, 10 males and 10 females. I am proud of myself because I am one of the three founder members (two females and one male) of the mining company.

The changes that took place in my life influenced the lives of two women with whom I formed a partnership. We are now successful business women through sharing GL notes and sharing ideas. The unity of purpose we have will go a long way into developing our lives and hopefully it will cascade down to all survivors of gender based violence in our community.

Our mining company managed to develop infrastructure in our community through its social responsibility programme. We constructed a road and built three bridges so as to improve the transport network in our area. To achieve our future plans, we established a rotating credit scheme to raise money to acquire more equipment and employ more people.

I am proud of myself and I always surprise our employees whenever I assist them to dig using heavy picks. Male employees treat me with respect and dignity because of the expertise I always demonstrate