Zimbabwe: Jenny Chapukira

Zimbabwe: Jenny Chapukira

Date: March 22, 2016
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I remember my first day with Gender Links (GL) when we learnt that no person is superior to the other based on gender. Destiny should not and cannot be attained through paying attention to our gender. GL taught us that both men and women should be equal. I used not to share my challenges with others; I would burn inside keeping my challenges to myself.

I joined GL on the 18th of August 2014. I attended all the three courses. The first course was in August 2014 and it was five days long. The second course was in December 2014 and it was also five days long. The last course was in April 2015 and it was three and half days long. I was drove by the desire to learn more and get myself out of the situation I was in. I did not have finances to start up a business. I overcame this by looking for a business with low start-up costs.

I used to do crotchet for cross border sellers and would get second hand clothes for myself and my children. My husband was not taking care of the family and getting clothes for me meant covering up my family challenge from the society. The business started getting low as many other women started getting into the trade. Prior to the coming of GL I was virtually not doing any business. The training motivated me to start a business. This is how I started the business of buying and selling vegetables in my community. To date I have managed to add other products such as dried kapenta, sugar beans and fruits. My business has been growing smoothly. I also surveyed the market and managed to find a market for children’s’ clothing. The training has boosted my confidence and self-esteem. I have learnt not to keep challenges to myself but to open up and look for solutions. Kadoma council has been assisting me in many ways. The council linked me to GL and it considers me for a number of workshops which are beneficial to me. I am now our local ward spokesperson because I attend a number of workshops. Recently I attended a workshop where we learnt the various purposes of a council. I now educate others in my community about the importance of paying rates. This and other such duties have helped boost my confidence as I now fit in well in my community.

My husband used to shout at me, beat me and the children, abuse me and not support the family. This is the kind of violence I was going through. I was like a widow without someone to take care of me. I was prepared to do an interview even on national television without hiding anything. When the training started I made a decision not to hide my books but to leave them where he could easily access them. He started reading them and got interested in knowing what I was learning. His behaviour started changing because of this and nowadays we go to church together. He stopped smoking and drinking alcoholic drinks. He spends most of his productive time doing voluntary work at church. The training has been quite helpful in my situation. I no longer want an interview on television because I might humiliate him. If the interview is to go ahead, he should be the one to initiate it and not me. Our relationship is now proper and he now has a proper relationship with our children. He supports the family. Our relatives think that I did something to him. They ask me, “Which witch doctor did you go to?” I believe that economic empowerment can play a pivotal role in reducing gender based violence in families.

I now fit in well in the society because of the changes in my life. Some people come to me asking for money because they see that my business is flourishing. I have become influential in the society and I always have something to tell people. The council chose me as a representative of our ward and I have been the link between the council and residents on many programmes.

I have learned how to do market research and business planning. I have plans to faithfully follow all that I learnt and see my business grow. My business will continue growing such that by the year 2030 I should be operating a shop for my business. I thank GL for their training programme. It came at a time when I was desperate and was having suicidal thoughts. The organisation has equipped me with knowledge and I am witnessing the power of it in my life.