Cecilia Webb

Cecilia Webb

Date: March 31, 2016
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Cecilia Webb – Ghanzi

My name is Cecilia Webb and I am from Ghanzi. The first time I came into contact with Gender Links in 2012. I was so happy and relieved after that training I felt like a lot of weight had been lifted off my shoulders as we were taught about Gender Based Violence. I remember that for the first time in my life I got to meet women with similar problems.

I attended the follow up workshops in 2013 and I attended all the trainings including the one on abuse. I found all the topics very important and I from then on all I wanted to do was am inspired to start my business. The bit that I found complicated to do was the cash flow but I managed with the help of the facilitator. I had no business and never thought of having one, I had little information about business but had no means nor interest to implement them. I learned there is need to conduct a market research to assess the demands and needs of the community. Now I have gone to the social workers to seek assistance in starting up my own business. The main challenge I experienced was when other facilitators from other sectors where too fast and also impatient with us when we could not understand. I now eagerly wait for the outcomes of my assessment. In the meantime I have been selected to go for further business training courtesy of the council.

I had suffered abuse from my partner, he abused me emotionally and did not have any regard for my feelings. At the time I did not view that as abuse, I felt that it was okay as long as he gave me money to care for the family that was until Gender Links taught us about abuse. I feel the situation is better because after the workshop I shared with him what we were taught and from then on we could have decent conversation. He now respects and values me because I too can bring income to the household and also assist with rational decision making in the family.

Before Gender Links I had no interest in being part of any organization, I did not even know how important volunteering is. I felt they were a waste of time. I initially thought that I have to deal with my own issues and not involve anyone, this caused so much unhappiness which resulted in physical illness. There was a point I even considered suicide was an option.

I help other people in my community who have suffered similar fate of abuse. My life has changed a lot and I am now a happier person and no longer look down upon myself. I am now able to work temporary jobs offered by Government. I freely associate with others. I realise that financial freedom can set anyone free and reduce abuse in one’s life.

People from our community have recognised that my life have changed that they come for advice, some I am currently teaching how to sew. I also encouraged those women that do not sew like to try and open small business that will help them to support their families. Again I got an invite to workshops to inspire youth to work hard in life for them to be successful. The people that I assisted most are still struggling to open business but are trying their best to open.

I am currently sewing at home to make small funds. My business has not grown but I do make few coins that I bank at the post office. I am trying to save so that I grow my business because have challenges with getting funds to improve my business. I sew all kinds of clothes shirts, trousers, skirts and dresses. With the knowledge I got from Gender Links I always ensure that I do not use all the money for the business to be able to save. I am grateful that now I can

support my family I can buy groceries, clothes and school fees. Even though I use it to buy groceries at home I make sure that I keep some for banking. With the knowledge I got I now keep financial records indicating income and payments. This really helps because I am now able to see that I make around P2500.00 and I spent around P1000.00 per month and my profit being P1500.00. Again now I know what to do to grow my business, I have to avoid spending time in one product to attract more customers and ensure the best in making beautiful products.

Gender Links have taught me a lot on how to run business, to make business plans, banking of income. They have also told us that we need to trust and know that we can make it life. My problem is that I did not get a chance to be trained on computers and this life it’s very important that I get a chance to train on it. What I loved about Gender Links staff is that they are very patient when teaching us. They make sure that one understands before we close for the day. Even the time I was participating for National summit they helped me to do a good presentation about my project. I am very grateful to Gender links staff especially Keletso who assisted me with the business plan, she was very patient and listen to my ideas. When she saw me, she was very happy that I now look happy and beautiful and she told me that challenges are what makes life interesting and we learn though them.

The trainings has brought so many changes in my life as I manage to restart my business and my life is so much better. My children have played a huge role in making changes in my life as they have learnt how to sew to be able to support whenever I need assistance, on days that I am not feeling well. My boyfriend gives me respect and he has stopped abusing me because he now sees my capabilities and that I can support myself. People from my community are now inspired to start their own business because of the changes they sees in my life. My neighbour Mrs Lydia has stood by my side thought by encouraging me to work hard because she believes I have skills and I love what I do.

I now believe in 2030 my business would have grown and be able to build my own house. Again I would like to hire more staff to be able assist others. I intend to use my savings to buy machines and more material, I want to be amongst those who are compassionate and just; just as one of the Botswana pillars imply

I wish for the government to take Gender-based abuse more seriously just as Gender Links has, I urge Gender Links to continue to training other women so that more lives are changed. Even though I have challenges with funding I wish Gender Links could assist with getting funding for our projects. Thank you Gender Links for supporting and giving me the strength to survive.