Vanida M.

Vanida M.

Date: March 31, 2016
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I have had a difficult life; I have known violence at a tender age but today I know that I should not be quiet and should raise my voice to the inequalities of life. I remember how my husband used to beat me, how my in-laws used to contribute and how I had no one as support. But, today I have used my wings to fly, to get away from the bad and to move on.

I met Gender Links (GL) for the first time when a neighbour of mine talked to me about the entrepreneurship course she was then following at the Council of Quatre-Bornes. I immediately thought that is what I needed when she narrated to me what the course was all about. Initially, I was just sitting at home idle after my divorce. I thought I was strong enough to get away with the bad memories but I was not. I was only pretending to be so. And when the opportunity to follow GL course came to me, I did not want to get lose with this opportunity. I immediately called to ask details and I enrolled myself for the batch in Grand Port Council.

I learnt so much about the course and no wonder I developed a love for entrepreneurship though I have done a diploma in secretarial work, I was now keener to have my own business and I decided to take on something that I love doing. I was making small greeting cards back in time but I was not marketing it enough to sell the products I made. I learnt from this course how to market my products, how to put a price on it, how to calculate profit and loss and how to proceed with payment. These were actually things that I was unaware of. The basics for managing business made me more knowledgeable and I was very sure that if I follow the right track, I will succeed. I started to expand my business and do more colourful greeting cards. I took pictures of the cards and I posted it on facebook and online selling groups on facebook which allowed me to reach a larger audience and I started having a lot of people placing orders for cards. The cards that I made were small cards that could go along very well with a gift, a bouquet or even a cake! The practical side of the card created more audience.

After some time when I sit to reflex about how after my divorce, I landed at my parents’ house and I had nothing to do. I was just sitting at home and when I has to buy something for me, I always had to ask my parents. But today, I can manage on my own. I am no longer dependent on my parents. I have my own income and I am very happy to have the money that I earn. I buy myself things that I love for me. My business has not only made be economically better but mentally always. I am no longer depressive. I go out to buy my materials for my cards, I meet my friends and relatives and I keep myself busy all the time. I have changed from I was to what I am today and my parents have been very supportive to me. I must say that all this change in me in due to the ‘push factor’ that GL put in me. GL gave me confidence go forward, to achieve my dreams and how be happy most importantly and I am ever grateful to GL for this.

My business was flourishing and I was very happy about my achievement. However, this was not the sole happiness that GL brought to my life. I once got a call from GL regarding the National Summit and I was asked to participate and talk about my business in front of a jury panel. At first I was hesitant, I thought I would not be able to talk properly. When I got back home that day after the meeting at GL for the Summit details, I talked to my mother about this. She was very happy and encouraged me to participate. She told me that I should not fear and that I should come in front and talk about my fruitful journey with GL, about my business and about my growth. I was still unsure but I gave a lot of thought to it and finally I decided that I should participate in this Summit and I will be able to talk in front of the panellist.

I put all my efforts in and I did my PowerPoint to impress the audience and the jury. I did it on D-day and left with a smile. Never in my wildest dream did I thought of winning the emerging entrepreneurship prize for the summit. I was so very proud of my achievement. The happiness journey was longer and longer now. I got to opportunity to present my business at the Regional Summit in Botswana and that was a life changing experience for me. The ladies I met there were living examples of strength and determination to succeed. I will never forget the people I met and their life changing stories. They were a role model and example to follow. I got to see the real world there and how women are making a difference, how they are successful women entrepreneurs and how they are letting their voice count. I said to myself that I was one amongst them do. Way back I was more than determined to be my best in the business I did. I am expanding from greeting cards to making wedding cards today. I am pleased about my personal growth and thanks to GL and its very supportive staff. I won’t let life problems haunt me anymore and I do my best to achieve my dreams.