Madagascar: Rahelibenja Harisoa Mamy Tiana Yvonne

Madagascar: Rahelibenja Harisoa Mamy Tiana Yvonne

Date: April 26, 2016
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I was a victim of domestic violence. I have three children. My husband gave me did not see me as an important person and did whatever he wanted to. This is what I endured for ten years. I wanted to react but I wasn’t able to because I thought it was my fate and I had to accept it for my whole life. But when I attended Gender Links training, I gained strength (the training has opened my eyes) and I got rid of the stereotype about women having to depend on men.

I attended my first workshop with Gender Links training in July 2014. The training included three phases. I was highly interested in them all. The first one provided us with the skills we need so as to face our personal lives and gave us knowledge on gender equality. Women should stop thinking that they are not capable of doing what men do. The second phase gave basic skills you need to have to start a business. The last one was about ways to grow a business. Instructions about management and different funding opportunities were given. Personal or financial problems may occur while we are running the business, but, since we have the will to go on and apply the instructions given and the lessons learnt during the training, we‘ll move forward.

Before I sold a variety of bread that I delivered to grocery shops. The profit I gained from that business was so small that it could not help me improve my living conditions.  But thanks to Gender Links which gave me the skills I need to develop both personally and professionally, I was able to start a new business. To do so, I followed the training instructions, I used some materials I already owned and used the money I got (the loan) I obtained from Microcred, a microfinance institution.

In the past, I was always worried and I had no self-confidence. I was not good at financial management whether in the household or in the business, which couldn’t make me progress. Now, my life is the complete opposite. I have become self-confident but I can also go further. I can compare myself with skilled people because I have knowledge about management and organization. I can support my three children by myself, as their father is not there. I can help my relatives and my friends who have problems or who need advises. People around me admire my enthusiasm and my courage which have led to my autonomy.

My past life and my present one are totally different with each other. The past life was full of suffering and violence. I had no skills and used to do things as a matter of routine. I had to console myself with the thought that not being able to progress was my fate and I couldn’t change it.

The present life is based on financial independence. I don’t take orders from anyone, I can progress and move forward. I have become important for the community because I can create jobs for others and thus help people. You can give advices to your friends who still suffer from violence and who have no skills at financial management. I helped four women to set up a business by sharing the skills I had got and they were so happy because it has really helped them. It was a real joy for me to have benefited from the training, to have been able to improve my management skills.

Before, whenever I had a problem, I went to my relatives to ask for help. Yet what I received was insults. It really hurt me. When some friends complained about their life, the only thing I could do was comforting them, I was not able to give them concrete solutions. Now, I have changed. I’m not perfect but I aim at progressing as far as I can and I don’t want to draw back. I have become more courageous. The training I followed and the prayers I made really helped me. I can apply the knowledge I got because I gained self-confident. I don’t want to live like in the past. I’m ready to become a professional entrepreneur and to help many people as possible.

I’m willing to go on expanding my business. I benefited from the Gender Links training. Hoping to find people who can provide me with financial support and give me the opportunity to develop my business rapidly and to become a big entrepreneur.