Zambia: Monica Phiri

Zambia: Monica Phiri

Date: May 10, 2016
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My most memorable part of the training is the time we were taught about research and why it is important for very business person should contact a research before they set up their business. Aunty Rosemary explained that research guides us into what the people in a particular area are looking. Research will also tell us how to improve the standards that have been set by people who are in the same business. This motivated and encouraged me because I felt that even if other people were doing the same business I was there was no reason for me not to excel into it this has been my strong hold and up to now I live up to it.

I joined the trainings in the year 2013, I have attended all the three phases of entrepreneurship since then. I found the topics of record keeping, budgeting, and research and business plan very helpful this is because I am a business person and all this was very relevant to me and my work. I found the topic of computers interesting but I feel there is still a lot to know that we were not taught and for this reason I feel it did not cover much of what it should have so for me it was least useful. The challenge I faced was that when I talked to my friends and neighbours about the training they discouraged me from continuing with the training because they said the people facilitating were foreign and we could not trust them as no one had ever heard of Gender links (GL) until just then. I managed to overcome this by giving GL a chance I can happily say that I have not regretted it. Also the other challenge I faced was that my child was unwell and so most of the time I had to leave the training earlier than the other women.

Before the training I used to work for someone else in their saloon. After the training however I decided that since I had been given the knowledge of how and where to start my own business I decided it was best for me to test new waters and start my own. It was not so difficult for me because I was already managing a saloon previously and I had attended a full training of how to set up a business. The training helped me so much and is the reason why I am where I am today. I feel that the council has really helped me a lot because I was identified as a survivor of gender based violence through the council. If the council did not link me to Gender links I would have not even attended the training. My confidence and determination also helped me because despite attending the training if I had no faith in myself I would have not have started my saloon business.

My husband was a very abusive man and I have suffered a lot of gender based violence at his hands. He used to beat me up any chance he got and he constantly liked to insult or demine me  there is nothing I could do about my situation and  this really upset me because I did not fancy my children seeing me like that. I felt like I was no good and sometimes I even blamed myself but after I saw that he was not changing and that nothing I was doing was making him happy I decided to divorce him. Currently am a divorcee who is not experiencing any form of violence and I am very happy. The change has really been good for both me and my children I have my peace of mind and am sure that this environment is a better place for my children to grow up in. My close family and friends are also very happy because they were even the first people to advise me to leave my abusive marriage. The link in empowerment and reducing gender based violence is that if both partners are empowered neither one needs to be abused as they can all stand on their own feet. I believe that whoever is not economically stable will put up with any violence because they are dependent on their partners.

The community has been influenced in the way I have turned my life around I was a woman who was just known for being abused by her husband now I am saloon owner, I can take care of my children pay house rentals and meet all my heart’s desire single handily. I am seen differently and people who made fun of my now have no choice but to respect me and even admire how life has changed for me.

I have learnt about building market research and business planning. I plan to apply all things that I have been taught by GL in my business and personal life because I feel their advice has payed of so far and I have no reason to think they do not have my best interests at heart has other people were suggesting. Come 2030 i want to have a saloon that is so good such that even if am gone it can still work and my children can still keep it open and running. I would like to thank GL for the way they are changing lives and I hope they do not stop here. I also want to thank Aunty Rosemary for her patience and time with us because I feel it is not easy working with adults especially all coming from different backgrounds may God bless you thank you.