Botswana: Thapelo Kgomothebe

Botswana: Thapelo Kgomothebe

Date: April 13, 2016
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I was invited to Gender Links by one of my neighbours in January 2013 but was reluctant to go. I later gave in and visited Lesedi Counselling Centre where Gender Links was conducting a workshop, despite my disinterest I learned a lot at the workshop. I learned about the types of abuse and the signs of gender based abuse. I however did not attend all the workshops as I would have wanted as I was pregnant and was due any day.

I was abused by my family members as they discriminated me because of my HIV/ADS status, I felt hopeless and felt my only way out of the misery is suicide. I tried to ignore the abuse for as long as possible but thanks to Gender Links I now know that I can report abuse at different places e.g. Police, social workers, kgotla etc. I ended up visiting the local social worker who called a meeting with my family, made them realise that they were treating me wrong and ever since then there is peace in the household and I am treated with love and compassion. This was made possible by Gender Links as they informed me the right channels to follow.

Before I started the workshops I was felt worthless as I had no source of income and had no idea how I could generate income, Gender Links taught me how to start and run  a  business and all its components and the sort of businesses we can venture into and also places that finance businesses. I have since started a vegetable garden that gave me self-awareness as I had had suicide thoughts when I was abused. I now love a happy life abuse free.

My friends who were concerned about me are now happy that I now live a happier life as they knew that I was considering suicide. The people who abused me have now accepted me and my status and are happy with the decisions I have been making lately to improve my life. I learned a lot about abuse and business, I learned that people need to report abuse to the authorities as soon as it happens and not keep quiet about abuse.

I will continue with my small garden until I find a different business that will interest me. My future plans is for me to be independent enough to raise my child and provide her with all she needs, I want to also encourage the youth to join such organizations and report if they experience abuse. By the year 2030 I want to be able to supply chain stores with my vegetables, I would like to thank gender links for giving me such an opportunity as it has improved my life greatly.