Date: April 6, 2016
  • SHARE:

My name is Silvy; I am 30 years old and the youngest of three (3) children. In my life I did not achieve many highlights/ high points until recently when I attended an entrepreneurship course. We had to draw up business plans and two women would be chosen to attend the annual summit to do a presentation about your business plan. To my surprise I was one of the women that was selected, something I never expected. What might it so remarkable was the fact that I was experiencing many things for the first time, like flying in an aeroplane; this was the first time I had to crawl out of my shell and speak in front of a lot of people. The opportunity came when I had no more self-confidence so it was fantastic to see that someone still believed in me. I could meet many people that motivated me, I listened to their stories and realised that I have no reason to give up hope. The older women also motivated me to never give up dreaming and not to hold onto what happened in your past.

In 2014 I heard about the project that Gender Links (GL) was presenting and decided to join the other women. At the training I learned a lot, not only about entrepreneurship but also about what exactly gender based violence is. I learned that abuse does not only take place physically but in different ways/ forms. While the women shared during the sessions I could identify with a lot in my own life, particularly my relationship. I could look back and reflect on my relationship and everything I made through.

I never saw myself as someone who was in that kind of relationship. But I realise now that I never wanted to see it as that kind of relationship. I was in a relationship for 12 years, five (5) years into our relationship things systematically started to change. I was no longer happy in the relationship because of the way he treated me. He would in the middle of the night come home drunk and insist that I give him a place to sleep, and then he would say anything to start an argument. For example he would say my room is not clean or that I am a bad mother because I was unemployed and how could I provide for my child. At any time he would make remarks about my body like saying ‘look how fat you are, I don’t even want to touch you’. As soon as I would decide to leave the relationship who would threaten to hurt himself.

It was also very difficult for him to support me when I wanted to apply for a new job or try to do something for myself. According to my thinking his way were ‘normal’ but I learned now that it is not okay for anyone to treat you like that. Sometimes he would also decide not give me support (maintenance) money and would use the money on weekend to get drunk with his friends and stay away days on end. Now that I have learned so much from the project I can make the decision to leave the relationship and not stay for the sake of the children. I see it now as a learning process where I can make better decisions for the future and also teach my children what to expect out of life one day.

Because work is so scarce in our Town I learned to make different items to sell, like table cloths, pillows, clothes, etc. during the training more and more I got my self-confidence back to dream bigger and to work hard to achieve my dreams. I also got new ideas of products that I can make. At the end of the day we are responsible for our own happiness and if we are going to make a success of things. And if you are going to allow what happened in your past to get you down. I personally still have a lot of growth to do in my own personal life and business but I am looking forward to what the future has in store. I would like to be stable in business and my personal life in a few years. I see myself as the owner of more than one boutique that is very successful. Maybe a mentor for a young person who also wants to achieve big things.

I want to thank GL, but particularity Juliana for everything that I could learn and that she must continue what she is busy with. I hope she realises the big difference she made in our lives. It is a very good initiative and may it just go from strength to strength. Women like us need people like you.