Madagascar: Razafinddrasoa Marcelline

Madagascar: Razafinddrasoa Marcelline

Date: April 25, 2016
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My name is Razafinddrasoa Marcelline and I live in the town of Antananarivo.
I grew up with my grandmother for my mother married another man after my father passed on. I had to work even if I was underage because we were poor. My mother died a few years after my dad’s death. Then my grandmother too followed, she died of grief.

I got hired at STAR as a cleaning woman and that’s where I met my husband. But the thing is – he drank a lot. When I had my baby, I stopped working and things got worse at home. He was always fighting and kicking us out of the house, but back then, there was no beating. Sometimes, I had to sleep in the yard.

He didn’t give enough money so I decided to sell cooked cassava which also provided extra food for my family. But that made my husband mad. I couldn’t stand it any longer so I went to the Center ILAIKO and they explained to me what violence was. I followed a training at the center and I realized that the atmosphere at home started to change; I began to take a stand as a mother who was fully in charge of her future and I resisted the violence by keeping up with my small trade because I realized that it was the key to solve the problems at home and to ensure a better future for us.

On 22 July 2014, the people from the Center ILAIKO called me for a training workshop with Gender Links which was facilitated by Mrs. Lanto. I learnt a lot from that workshop, especially about violence which was a real obstacle in my life before.

I followed all the steps taught in the workshop because I found all the themes we covered quite interesting and helpful. It gave me the strength to gather myself up and face my future, to get through with my little project. I am motivated and I believe that I can have better results than what I had before. I already have the project so all I have to do now is to develop it.

All the advices and counseling I received were quite helpful as I needed them to move forward with my work. But there were some things that I didn’t really need like the small loans that the Secam group presented to us, small business entrepreneuring that requires big equipments which is quite difficult to get. What I did to solve my problem is to gather up little by little what I could manage and use my personal savings. The small commercial activity I had before the workshop is to sell cooked cassava and once I finished the training, I began to put into practice what I learnt through diversifying the goods I sold.

I also got some support from the Council in developing my small business, in the supervision of the training workshop. But I also have to mention the support brought by the Center ILAIKO and GENDER LINKS which provided great help with the training in life coaching and management. Their advices and guidance were quite useful both for my commercial activity and for my personal peace of mind.

Now there is no more violence, it has vanished thanks to all the trainings I have received. I am not giving up and I am ready to move on with my work because I realized all the good influences it brought even on my husband. He doesn’t drink that much anymore when he saw that my work kept improving. He felt shame. I built up my self-confidence. I taught my kids what violence was and all the bad impacts it could have. They were very much interested and became more mature.

Being independent financially contributed in bringing changes at home and in developing my trade. I was able to do the usual life evaluation and work on erasing the violence and instead talk of our goals, of a better future. As far as the community at large is concerned, my neighbours were amazed by the new calm which now exists in our home and the improvement in my trade. I managed to build a house for my children as they also dream of some changes.

I now have a lot of responsibility toward my neighbourhood in sharing all the things I’ve learnt, all the knowledge acquired, and my experience. I never hesitate to share and exchange ideas. I feel privileged compared to others because I was given the opportunity to follow all those training’s and to be able to get rid of the violence that plagued my life. I was able to start on my project and to convince my husband who never listened to me or my ideas before. But now he is changed and even my children are able to live like any other kids.

My dream is to become an entrepreneur in the field of construction and I encourage all women to work hard and to respect their job, no matter what it is. I also wish to reduce the number of non-working women and to help them take their life in charge; we, all the women in the area, can work together and build up a common project in order to improve our neighborhood like handicraft and so on.

Finally, I’d like to mention that I am very much satisfied with my collaboration with Gender Links and the Council for their action provided a real support and development for women. So we, as trainees, wish that the collaboration will continue in the future. Thank you so much