Zimbabwe – Zhuwana Razao

Date: September 25, 2018
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“Knitting for the community.”

My name is Zhuwana Razao I am a nurse aid by profession. Before I met Gender Links I was living a painful life marred with insults and assaults from my husband Rashidi Joromani. The problem started the day he abducted me and kept me as his wife against my will. I failed to escape from him because he impregnated me on our first encounter so it was difficult for me to go back to my parents’ home. Since I was in a love relationship with him I decided to accept my situation and continue living with him as my husband.

When I was eight months pregnant I discovered that my husband was a married man and the situation exposed me to abuse. His wife used to insult me in public. The situation degraded and demotivated me since the insults where taking place at public places. The incident caused me to be ill due to high blood pressure and I experienced a premature birth and lost my baby. These events became a major stumbling block in my life until the time I met GL.

GL taught me to move forward with my life and leave the past behind me. They equipped me with entrepreneurial skills and restored my lost hope. I was living in darkness as I was not aware of my rights as a woman. The entrepreneurship programme motivated me to start my own business. The main challenge I faced was the failure to raise capital to set up a business. I failed to put into practice the knowledge I obtained due to lack of resources. The organisation equipped me with the knowledge but resources impeded me from reaching the targeted result. I looked for a job and got one as a nurse aid at a local private surgery with the intention to raise capital to start my business. What I thought to be the only gateway to my new business turned out to be the beginning of a new problem because I was not paid for the service I provided and I quit the job.

I later recovered my money from my former employer but since I was underpaid nothing came out of that small amount I received. My friend Sister Loyce who was into knitting business encouraged me to join her and learn the new trade. She taught me to knit winter wear and other clothing materials. After acquiring the knitting skill, my brother bought me a knitting machine. I used the money I got from GL as transport reimbursement to buy wool and my business kicked off.

I formed a partnership with Sister Loyce and our business flourished. The peak performance of the business is realised during winter seasons because the demand for winter wear will be high. I am no longer living in the past and all my efforts are now directed towards one goal, which is, taking my business to the highest level. I also managed to enter into a new relationship and I shared the important information on GBV I obtained from GL with him. My boyfriend benefited through me and he now has knowledge on gender issues.

As a trained nurse aid for St Johns I always ensure that I serve my society during national events. I took that as an extracurricular activity which I do on voluntary basis. Community members were surprised with the changes that took place in my life and I hope that my life will inspire many people.