Zambia: Asedi Nkhuwa

Zambia: Asedi Nkhuwa

Date: April 18, 2016
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What excited me during the training was having different products at one place and being able make sales and customers would not need to go elsewhere to satisfy their needs (diversification). I further learnt the importance of customer care – ensure that you speak to your customers with respect so that they continue buying from you.  The other things was how to look after your money – before coming to the training, I spent all the money I made without budgeting for it. I reported my husband to YWCA because he was always beating me and insulting me. YWCA gave me a call out to talk to my husband. We were interviewed together – my husband was told that his abuse was too much and the only solution would be to end the marriage through court process.  We were advised to go to court.  We went there and the court dissolved our marriage. In the meantime, YWCA advised me to leave my phone number with them.

A month later in 2014 YWCA called me to go to their office where I met someone from Gender links.  She interviewed me and assisted in writing my ‘I’ story. After a few weeks I was called to go to the council guest house to attend entrepreneurship training. I attended all the three phases and have benefited a lot from the trainings. The module on how to do business has been very useful to me. Before coming to the training I did not know anything about running a business. Everything I learnt was useful to me.  The only challenge I had was not being able to read and write.  Though I was able to assimilate the information, it is important that I refer to the materials later.  I have had to ask other people to help me read and write my business plans and personal development plans.

Before training, I was only doing piece work at people’s homes in order to survive. Currently I have been doing business selling charcoal and sweet potatoes. I have had a short break because my daughter was in hospital. The training has helped me to start and run a business.  I have managed to put my children in school – I am also planning to find someone to tutor me to read and write.  I am now able to write my name. Yes the council assisted in finding a venue during the first phase and mentors for us in phase three. I have been networking with other survivors with more knowledge to assist me wherever possible, for example on how to save money.

Yes, I was experiencing a lot of violence from my former husband. That is the reason I took him to YWCA and local court to seek divorce. Yes, I am again experiencing emotional violence with my current husband but he does not beat me at all. The emotional violence extends to my children from the earlier marriage.  I have reported him to YWCA. He was even locked up by the police that led to him running away from home after being released.  He came back recently to apologize that he would never again abuse me or the children.  The children relate well with me.  Their step father has apologized – we are yet to see what will happen.  Other family members encourage me to look after the children well in spite of the problems with my husband. They are ever so supportive. Yes, there is a link between economic empowerment and reducing gender violence.  When one is economically empowered, there is less tension in the home.  Poverty creates situations for violence.

People that have seen the change in my life ask me how this happened.  When I explain, some want to learn from me. One of my neighbors has started a business and she consults me often about it.  Others have been asking how they can be part of the GL training if ever there is another chance in Chipata.

As regards influencing laws, policies and practices, all I know is that the treatment of survivors at VSU has changed since this program started.  I am creating new knowledge by sharing what I learnt with other women who are in similar situations.

I have learnt about financial discipline and independence as well as how to live peacefully with other people. I will use the lessons learnt in my business through opening an account to save money to grow my business so that I can continue supporting my children in school. I want to go back to school so that I can read and write. I will build myself a shop to trade in by 2030.