Maria Rosa

Maria Rosa

Date: March 31, 2016
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My training at Gender Links was very inspirational. I learnt to understand how I let myself be dominated by man. This course made me realise my worth. People has humiliated me and had prejudice against me to such extent that I felt I was totally useless. But after the entrepreneurship training held in October 2014, I’m very self motivated. I also learned how a make a business plan which I found most useful. What I liked the most was the way Gender links addressed to me, motivated and empowered me throughout the course.

My best experience was when I went to South Africa. It was very enriching. I became conscious of the situation women were facing out there. It is very difficult for them to survive. Life is not easy at all for them, and they have to work very hard. They have to walk miles to look for clients and to be able to sell their products. Here in Mauritius, we must be thankful that we get everything one way or another. We have to make an effort rather than sitting idly. We must make the first step.

I took several courses starting at social community centers, then MES, MEF and lifestyle management at ‘Caritas’. At Gender Links I have learnt how to move forward in life. There was a summit held in Quatres-Bornes in where the District Council and its President were present. I had the opportunity to ask for advice about business. They guided me and this has helped me to take a decision.

Before the training, I was working as personal Chef. I cooked food for clients at their place. Now I’m assistant coordinator at ‘Caritas’ and I only do night shifts. I like to keep myself free during the day as I’m also a social worker. I work at MAMS, helping women who are in difficulties and distress. I give them advice and counseling if needed. I do it voluntarily. They do not consider me as a stranger, we are like a family. I manage my time and hence I’m able to work at both places. I cannot keep on doing paid work and ignore what is happening around me.

Social work gives me satisfaction. People do not come to us for food or clothes; they look for someone to hear them out. I like to help people whenever I can because I went through all these too and there was no one who came forward to help me. I will never be able to choose one between my two jobs.

I did face a lot of violence and still continue to experience it. When my husband is drunk, he talks nonsense continuously. It was unbearable before. But now I just do not pay attention. I have learned that avoiding him is the best way to avoid conflict. He has become like a lullaby to me, when he talks I feel sleepy. My husband does not approve when I work. He feels insecure. He thinks that he is losing his importance in the house since I do not ask him anything now. At Gender Links I was taught not to rely on anyone and to be independent. Now I can proudly stand up on my feet and defend myself.

My dream is to open up a ‘cuisine ouverte’. But when I went to South Africa to present my project, I was told that it is going to cost me a lot since I need to hire many people for this job. In spite of everything I do not lose hope. I’m saving money for my business and hopefully one day I will be able to start up my business.