Zambia: Christine Phiri

Zambia: Christine Phiri

Date: May 10, 2016
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The most memorable experience as part of my training was being able to learn how to make a budget for my business. This is something that has really built me as an individual because I am not the same person that first came to this workshop I am now more proactive and I can easily stand on my own two feet. Apart from the business aspect we tackled issues on our own personality and how we can improve now I am more confident I value myself as an equal to other women and men. I did not have the self-esteem that I have now.

I joined the training in 2013, I was invited to join the training by the council in Chipata. I have attended all three training’s which were very educative as a result this trainings I have been able to send my children to school and give them all they require to attend school and provide food for my household. During the training I have been able to use the financial management applications as I am now able to buy goods and resale before my shop completely runs out hence also being able to maintain the flow of my business. When it comes to book keeping, I have been able to put down my budget and adhere to it even as I expand. This has helped me as I have now become more accountable with all the funds I use and the profit I get back. I have not been able to identify which part of the training was not useful as all the areas of the training were vital to the improvement and running of my business. The main challenges I faced were finding the goods I intended to buy were not easily available. For instance I sell tomatoes mainly, so when I go to buy I find that they have finished because there are a lot of people who are in the same business. I managed to overcome this challenge by attending including other food stuffs to what I sale so that if tomatoes are not there I can still easily buy something else.

Before I was in an abusive marriage my husband used to beat me up a lot and would leave home without providing food. Though he did not leave me any money or food to cook when he comes back from his drinking spree he expected to find his meal ready if I had not prepared anything he would beat me up. This went on for some time over the years he just left me without giving any reason. Currently I am not facing anymore violence as I have left him and am just staying with my children. Changes are being reflected as I am now able to take my children to school whom he (husband) left at a tender age, I am able to buy them school uniforms and other requirements. Also I pay for my rentals and all this is being seen by the people am close to. The response to the change has been overwhelming as the close relatives have also been able to understand what I went through and currently I am coping with the situation. There is a definite linkage between economic empowerment and reducing gender violence in the sense that for instance, when a woman is economically empowered she would be able to stand on her own and there would be no chance of being abused by the spouse or having much dependence on the spouse as she/he will have to meet most of the requirements needed for survival.

My change in life has influenced many people in my community as they have seen that being a divorcee is not the end of the world  as I am able to do all the things for my family and my business . The people who were being abused in my community have taken a stand and have stood up for their rights and have told their spouses that the times have changed when men were able to command anything to their wives or beat them and they kept quiet , things have really changed now. I am seen differently as I have earlier mentioned I am able to stand firmly in my business and I am able to run a home on my own.

My actions have changed the way people used to live way back in terms of practise. Men have reduced in the beating of their wives. Wives also have been able to collaborate with this husbands, this is in a situation where women seem to have everything because of their business and have stopped respecting their husbands whose income is lower. Things have now stabilized and people are living in harmony. New ways of doing things is that I am now able to gauge the pricing of my goods by making them slightly lower than my other friends so as to attract more customers. This has really worked out for me because now I am able to restock my shop twice instead of once. My friends do not realize what my stagey is because of their high prices their goods do not finish. As for the laws that have changed, I am only aware of the Gender Violence Act that has been in place though this is not as a result of my actions alone but a lot of women within the country.

I have learnt many lessons in terms of how my business has to be run or in the works at home where my children are able to do the same household   chores regardless of sex unlike the way it was way back. I have also learnt that even if ones spouse is doing fine the other partner should not just sit at home and wait but should be doing something to supplement his income. My future plans include making sure my business to continue so that I will even be able to construct my own house. I also want to ensure that my children finish school and do not undergo the sufferings that I went through. By 2030 I would have increased my business and would have completed constructing my house and my children are comfortable. The only thing I can say is to thank Gender links Zambia for the trainings which are life changing, thanks also to the councils for being there for me in identifying me to be part of the training.