Madagascar: Rakotoarivelo Andresse Nathalie

Madagascar: Rakotoarivelo Andresse Nathalie

Date: April 26, 2016
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I gained a lot of information from Gender Links training and  I even made had new friends with whom I got on very well.  I was selected to attend the national summit in Antananarivo, at Hôtel Colbert which is one of the most famous and biggest hotels in Antananarivo.

The training began in July 2014. I attended all the phases because I needed the information I was gaining. I found all the issues covered during the training very useful.  What interested me most was the presentations about record keeping in a business management and the need to do a market research before starting a business. My only problem was I lived far from the place of the training so I had to take a taxi so in order to be on time. I don’t like being late so I tried to organize my day in order to be able to pick up my children at school and attend the training sessions. I managed to attend the training sessions in general.

Before the training, I managed a grocery shop and sold clothes. But both didn’t work because I didn’t have enough management skills and professional experience. I gained no profit so I decided to stop operating the business. After I took part in Gender Links training, I decided to set up my own business again. Now I manage a grocery shop and sell rice.

The training has changed my life completely because nobody despises me anymore. I respect myself and my work. Before I suffered from violence of all sorts: I was beaten, my belongings were stolen, I endured hurting words, my hair was cut while I was asleep, my face was burnt with cigarettes, I was not allowed to work, I was publicly disgraced, the things I needed were hidden from me and so on…

I no longer  endure any kind of  violence but the problem is that my partner is not convinced about gender equity yet, which causes a problem: he doesn’t respect my rights and don’t treat me with dignity. But I no longer accept being belittled. That is the change I have experienced after the training.

I have attended all the Gender Links training and the training has a tremendous impact on people who are close to me. Now my father informs me when there is something important to do in the family, he gives me some responsibilities. That wasn’t the situation before, I was not able to take any responsibility in the family so I was just informed about what had been done.  Before I was given no consideration, yet I am among the elder children.

Because I have taken some responsibilities, people around me are happy. I am no longer a burden for them. I personally think financial autonomy and violence are closely linked: if you have no money, you are discouraged and stop thinking of any possible progress, you have no reaction against violence. The training has changed my life and way of thinking: I have become courageous. I would like to become a trainer, I’d like to give advices to the women who still endure violence. Thanks to the knowledge I got from the training I am able to help women not accept to live in the world of violence anymore.

I will try to do what I can to change my partner’s mind and make him convinced about gender equality. I have many advantages compared with other women because my standards of living have improved and I can save money. Now I’m able to face problems with courage and I always try to find solutions. The lesson I learnt from the training is the following: it’s a good for a woman to have her own source of income as it makes her independent and not rely too much on men. Most of the time, it’s this dependence which causes violence.

I’m applying all the lessons I got from the training in my life in general, and in my job. I wish to expand my business and to have a big shop. I’m convinced that I ‘ll be able to buy a car after fifteen years.