Date: April 4, 2016
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I have enjoyed this training because shy as I was, now I have become quite self-confident and talkative, enjoying going to cyber-café; I have never used a computer, but now I have an e-mail address, I can write and communicate with SMS.

The training we attended started in June 2014; we had to write our story narrating our life before the training, when we suffered from many types of violence and could not fight back, and our life now that we know and can resist as far as possible. We all followed the training, from Phase 1, to Phase 2, through to Phase 3 and now, we are writing our stories; and I am ready for whatever is to follow. I really like the topics of financing and business, because I enjoy them.

We all had a BOA bank account opened by the Mayor of Manjakandriana because she works with us and helps us, the trainees. I need all the training sessions because I can benefit from them.

The minor problem I had in January 2015, during the rainy season with a particularly heavy rainfall, I always got wet on my way home, and nearly got buried in a landslide.

The work I did before is embroidering, but the pay was low and I could not manage; now we can live with what I do even though my husband is not giving any money. With the yogurt I make, I can pay for my children’s monthly school fees and the meals for the day: if I make 3000Ar every day, 2500Ar goes to food and 500Ar is saved. The training has helped towards a better life and even saved my life.

My former life was quite miserable since my ex-husband had no job but was womanizing and foul-mouthed; if I made things to earn a bit of money, he would throw away what I had made. For example, if I was making fritters, he would kick the oil in the frying pan and I would get burnt. He has now changed because I am earning money now and do no ask money from him anymore: he is now the one who begs money from me.

My family is not affected by this, they are even happier, because the violence I suffer from is often restricted to the couple. There is a link between violence and having money of your own: very often the problem of the household is a question of money and if I ask my husband to give me money, he may grumble, which may start quarrels that lead to violence. But if I have money of my own I can use it as I like.

I work with the community and know how to cooperate, sharing what I have learnt from the training, and in fact, there are neighbours who come to ask what was done at the training sessions, and I will tell them because they are women like me and I know they have the same problems as mine, so we end up working together. It is true there are some who do not like it, but there are many who appreciate! But I keep going because I need to convince them, and I always try to improve things.

I enjoy many advantages indeed, compared to the others because of the training where I learnt about how to fight against violence, for instance, how to budget, how to manage income and expenses.

Many are the lessons to learn from the training: progress, self-confidence, taking risks, which you can apply to your life. In the future, I’m planning to be a self-employed business-woman not working for other people and with plenty to do, so that life can be pleasant and enjoyable in fifteen years’ time! No more anxiety then!

In conclusion, I would like to encourage women like me to improve their life and not accept to be put down by others: one needs a goal in life.

The business plan is about a grocer’s shop, but this is not quite real just yet: I start small before increasing its size as my goal is to set up a big wholesale business; for the time being I make and sell yogurt.