Botswana: “Yes we can…let us stop abuse”

Botswana: “Yes we can…let us stop abuse”

Date: March 18, 2016
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Gladys SimonSarah* Chobe, Botswana, 18 March, 2016: I am aged 54 years and stay in Chobe. Ever since training with Gender Links, my life has reached the highest limits. Firstly I won the 1st price for existing businesses during the SADC protocol national summit in 2015 and I went on to win 1st prize at the regional summit in the same year were I was competing with women from 9 other countries. I am a landscaper by profession and I am also a florist.

I started attending Gender Links trainings in 2013 where we were taught on various forms abuse. Thereafter I was trained to do my business plan, manage my business and how to deal with my competitors. I was stuck not knowing marketing research and was doing business with no plan.

I was funded by Department of Forestry Resources and was trained on landscaping and floral arrangement. Before Gender Links I had experienced violence from my husband and family members even from some members in my community. They called me names because I was a beggar, a shebeen queen and when times were very tough I also resorted to selling dagga. But since I met Gender Links I am my own boss. I do not experience physical abuse nor do I experience emotional abuse. There is change in my life, I own my own private company and I am the sole owner and I create jobs for Batswana men and women. I also encourage other people to go green and work their own back yard gardens and nurseries to generate income.

I am highly respected in my community ever since my business took off. Whenever there are events in my village I am called to come and help with decorations especially for the top table. I also have knowledge on how to search the internet and learn more on how to make my business operate better and also advertise my business. I have learnt about my rights that no one should undermine my rights. I have also learnt about the types of abuse and how you can avoid abuse in your life. The trainings have also helped me to market my business and to make quotations which are basically pricing and estimation.

I want to see my business expand into the SADC region. By 2030 believe me I will be having a garden which hosts world garden shows. My last word to all women out there is that let us join hands with Gender Links for equality and justice because with Gender Links “Yes we can”. I urge them to stop hiding behind abuse and must seek assistance as this may save their lives.