Date: April 5, 2016
  • SHARE:

My name is RAVAOARIMANANA Marie Augustine and I live in the town of Antananarivo. I married Rakotoniaina Modeste. We really loved each other until we had two children and his bad character began to show. He drank, was foul-mouthed when I asked about the money he won, and he’d leave home the next morning not to return. My two children and I starved to death, so we went to my mom’s. But he got angry when he heard about it.

Since it’s hard to find a job in summer, he pretended to behave correctly and stayed home. And that’s how I got pregnant again, but when winter came, he tried to pick up a fight with me so that we split up and he could get back to his bad habits. What’s more, even my parents couldn’t reason with him. Later, Modeste became a heavy drinker and violence grew at home; including sexual abuse when I sometimes refused it.

I collected crumbs at Analakely when I met Mrs. Lalao, a tomatoe seller. She let me sell leafy greens in a place next to hers in the market. As usual, my husband made my life impossible when I took that job so I finally stopped selling, and we had another child. To my surprise, I discovered that Mrs. Lalao was actually nobody else but my husband’s mistress.

I looked for another place in the market and kept on selling but I stopped giving him money even though he beat me, today I still bear the imprinted scars on me. Later on, I left him and not long after that, he died.

Time was slipping by and as I used to have a good relationship with the people at the Council, Mrs. Monique and Mrs. Julie suggested me to follow the training organized by Gender Links. They told me it would be like the one Mrs. Lanto gave in 2014.

I scrupulously followed the different steps of the training and the teachings I received. And things like gender, business management, and business plan have been very useful and they changed my life. That is how I managed to extend my commercial activity. I think everything in the training was important as it aimed at improving our life conditions. Besides, we barely met any problem during the training as the facilitators were marvellous.

Before the training, I sold just leafy greens but after that, I extended my business with selling vegetables also.

I admit that this training was really of a great help to me, I did it and got good tools. Now, I sell many different goods, I have experienced an important personal development, and became a more open-minded and courageous person who is determined to fight for my life.

I have to say that the Council really helped me through its counseling and information, the Gender Links as well.

I encountered less violence because I already left my husband and he is no longer with us.

I began to lead a better life at home and to be respected by my neighbors. My children love me more thanks to the good changes I’ve brought to our lives. However, my brother filled with jealousy is not so happy to see my life changing. I’ve also increased people’s awareness of the power brought by running your own business, although it’s only a small one. Sharing what I’ve learnt from the training is my contribution in the life of the community where I live.

I think there’s really a relationship between financial independence and violence because rich people shouldn’t be victims of violence if they know how to manage their money, their income, the outcome and the savings correctly as we said that only bad management brings about troubles at home.

I benefited a lot from the training as I learnt how to manage my little business, to keep some savings and to always be self-confident, I put the teachings into practice by extending my business and not sticking to just one activity; by investing my savings in another activity like brickworks in order to increase it so that I wouldn’t need to borrow money for starting funds but to use my own.

My plan for the future is to extend my business into itinerary selling or wholesale business in Tamatave, and to help my children to succeed in their studies. I’d like to build a house if the brickworks run smoothly and this house would be rented as a school building then.

Finally, I’d like to give a suggestion about organizing training for teenagers aged 10 to 15 as educating them has become a very tough work these days.

A warm thanks to Gender Links and its staff, to the Urban Commune of Antananarivo and all the participants because the training has been very helpful and it brought real changes to our present lives.