Mauritius: Veronique Celestin

Mauritius: Veronique Celestin

Date: May 13, 2016
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The training at Gender Links in 2014 taught me what self-worth is all about. I discovered the various abilities and qualities I possess. First and foremost I learned how to improve my own character and overall life circumstances for the best. I was very enthusiastic about the training and did not miss a day of it. It helped me to become an independent and confident woman. After a first interaction with Gender Links I thought that I it will help me financially. I am very happy that it was not the case because I am even more satisfied with the changes I could bring into my personal and professional life.

I was selected to go to South-Africa for the Gender Summit to present my project in 2014. I realised that I have a talent for making Mauritian pickles. This experience further boosted my self-confidence and drove me to be more ambitious. Before going there I worked as a full-time housemaid. I thought that I will always do that since I am academically poor. My employer was not keen to grant me some days off to go to South-Africa. I lost my job and remained unemployed for three months.

I then decided to set up a little shop within my house premises. Today, I am a woman entrepreneur and the proud owner of a shop where I sell homemade cakes. Cooking is my passion and I love to invent and innovate around dishes. I also learned handicrafts such as crochet, wicker and jute. I took an accredited course dispensed by the University of Mauritius. The course enabled me to improve my production techniques and products. I learned to sterilize pickle jars, dry vegetables/fruits and do my own labeling. What I earn with these undertakings enables me to take care of the financial needs of my family which is composed of five persons. I am the only income earner since six months because my son and husband are unemployed.

My accomplishment was unlikely given my previous circumstances. I seldom received financial support from my husband for household expenses/personal endeavors. He thought that I cannot concretion my projects and fulfill my ambitions. I was discouraged but I did not give up. I have a pickle production business, I bought a tricycle to sell the homemade cakes, I still work as a housemaid two times a week and often offers catering services for special occasions. I also try to share my knowledge and experience with others. I believe that we can all do something to improve our lives if we truly wish to. Nothing is decided in advance and there is always a possibility for success. I learned this essential lesson following my training with Gender Links.

I am a changed person; I now feel more like taking care of myself in every way possible. I like to wear nice clothes, make-up, take care of my hair and my overall look. I am no longer shy; I can speak to people with confidence, assert my ideas and deal with my life independently. People who knew me before this transformation often express their astonishment. My previous character traits did not reflect my ability to stand where I am today. I am often a subject of admiration. My well-wishers helped me a lot by giving me raw materials such as jars, fruits, vegetables and moral support.

Those he ignored me before now smile and speak to me. I also have greater authority with my immediate family. Being a bread winner, I am respected and listened to. My children help me in my endeavors. One of my greatest prides is that I never have to ask for money to anyone and I learned to make savings. I am my very own subsistence. Consequently I often feel that my husband may think that I am a step ahead of him.I now intend to apply for a retailer’s permit in order to sell industrial products in my shop. I want my business to be larger and more fruitful. My dream is to see my children succeed in life and I want to be in a position where I can contribute to that success.