South Africa: Thenjiwe Chakala

South Africa: Thenjiwe Chakala

Date: April 10, 2016
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I joined the Gender forum in Emfuleni through the gender coordinator whom appointed us as ward committee members. Through the gender forum meetings, we were introduced to Gender Links and the l stories workshops. In one of the workshops facilitated by Ntombi, she noticed that there were a lot of painful untold stories amongst the group. We then made a day where we will share our untold stories and help each other to deal with the pain and find a way to forgive and move on. Which we did and it has helped us a lot. I managed to share what I had had to go through as a child and it was for the first time ever that I spoke of it and I managed to heal and let go.

I joined the training after the I story programme last year in August 2014 and I have attended all the phases and am developing the idea of the business.  My main challenge was to open the business as I did not have enough finance to start the business so I decided to start selling kota (bunny chows) and chips. This is still a small business because I have not acquired enough finances to turn it into a big shop where people can sit while they eat.

Before the training I was just sitting at home and applying for jobs or looking for finances to start a business. I am currently studying part time at the University of the North West and managing my business instead of waiting at home for someone to help me with the finances. The Emfuleni Municipality has not helped me to start the business at all. The pastor has helped me with the finances as he lent me money to start my business together with my stokvel.

I have left the abusive relationship I was in. I have learned to be confidence and know that I can still live without his finances. I am much stronger as a young women, I am now able to assist women who are going through the same problems that I have encountered, advising them on what to do and how to make decisions. People feel that I am not the same person, I look confident and I take pride in the decisions that I make regarding my life. Economic empowerment makes people strong and able to make decisions with a sober mind and not based on what can be provided in a relationship; as GBV is caused by people being dependent on others and not being able to stand on their own.

My change is influencing my community in a positive manner as I tell them to take charge of their lives and do something about their situations that will make them to be great in future. My future plans are to be financially stable, have my own businesses, home and cars. To be fully self sustaining as a women and bring change to the lives of other people.