Zimbabwe: Monica Mhoshiwa

Date: September 25, 2018
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“The beginning of my rise.”

Monica Mhoshiwa suffered gender based violence for 13 years and she was not able to speak out. She endured abuse in silence until 2010, the year she decided to speak out. Speaking out failed to be a solution to her problem because her husband became more violent. The situation led her to lose her job because her husband used to harass her at her workplace. After she was dismissed from serving as a sales person for a chicken brooding company, she finally decided to apply for a divorce and was successful.

“It was through Msasa that my path crossed with that of Gender Links. The organisation taught me about gender based violence and entrepreneurship as a way of empowering me as a survivor of abuse. I am living testimony to the fact that the programme was very useful as it brought positive change in my life. Many aspects of my life changed for the better and I began to look at myself in a positive manner. The feeling of rejection disappeared and for the first time in my life I felt that I was good on my own. The lessons about setting up a business were an eye opener for me and everything made sense to me. I did not need a man to have the kind of life that I desire,” she says.

The entrepreneurship skills she obtained saw her getting into the buying and selling business. She used the money she got as transport reimbursement after the workshop to purchase stock from South Africa. The business grew systematically because she successfully applied the knowledge she gained from Gender Links.

In April 2014 she opened an informal trader account with a local bank in order to be able to apply for a loan and she submitted her business plan. Unfortunately, the application for the loan was rejected because her guarantors failed to meet their outstanding arrears. “Because of GL I now believe in myself and I am not scared to take risks. I now have a nose for opportunities surrounding me,” she says.

She converted her spare bedroom into a storeroom where she kept her stock. Mhoshiwa sells her stuff from the veranda of her house because the business is still small as there has been little capital injection. She is now able to keep financial records and avoid misappropriation of business funds. She has plans to acquire a commercial stand where she can build her shop in the near future.

She also aims to breed broiler chickens as a diversification strategy if the capital comes through. People in her community seek advice from her because they have noted the remarkable difference in her life. “I always share the notes I got from Gender Links with them. I enjoy doing this because it keeps me focused on the bigger picture and it gives me the urge to move forward. I feel indebted to GL for affording me such an opportunity and I will never be the same person again,” she said.

Before she attained financial independence, she used to spend most of her time in hospital as a result of stress related illnesses. She now boasts sound health. Mhoshiwa managed to acquire a driver’s licence, something that was made possible by the courage that was instilled in her during the entrepreneurship training.

“My husband used to call me “a parasite” but he is now surprised with the changes taking place in my life. I was not empowered because I had money, but the skills I acquired from GL helped me. Many people in my community are coming forward to ask how I managed to attain financial freedom.

Mhoshiwa feels that it is not always good to rely on loans but it is a noble idea to use the available resources. She has plans to ensure that the useful information she has gathered will cascade down to many people in her community.