Zambia: *Yvonne Kaoma

Zambia: *Yvonne Kaoma

Date: April 12, 2016
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The most memorable experience as part of the training are things that were taught at the training like knowing that I have rights to speak when I am abused by my husband/partner and self-esteem where the facilitator told us that we are important and can make it in life even without men.

I joined the training in 2013, when I was invited by the then chairperson for women Lobby group (the late Mrs Chama). She was one person I used to confide in in terms of my marriage life experience. I attended all the three phases. The topics were so interesting and educative. Of all the lessons the  ones that were so useful were; starting up a business, market research, location, size and diversity, Stock control, financial pricing and cash flow.

Before I started attending the training, I was already in to business. I used to buy Village chickens and goats from Choma (Southern province) and sale in Kasumba Lesa border as well as in Congo. I am still doing the same business though I intend to start a new one because of the high costs of running a business. I only realised this after being trained and learnt on how to calculate my profits. I came to realise I have been running losses in my business.

The training has helped me very much because before I used to be very much abused by my husband. He would insult me, beat me and sometimes even sent me to my parents’ home and could not react to it. After undergoing training I started reacting where I felt he was not fare to me. He started changing as he feared that I would report him to his family and the police. He stopped drinking beer frequently and could understand whenever I complained about anything. Our relationship changed from good to bad. Unfortunately he died just before the phase three training.

On the economic part, my financial status improved because I had a business and also started working as a cleaner at a catholic school a thing that I never thought I would do. Giving extra income, I also started taking stock of my products and also opened a savings account with Zambia National Commercial bank. The change that has happened to me is reflected in the way my children dress and look as well as in the way life has improved in terms of availability of food at home. I am able to have a balanced meal three times a day. My children go to school and on the added dependants that I am able to keep. I am also keeping relatives at home.

A change about my life has influenced others to change in that a number of women in my community have joined me in the inter town trade. Some even come for advice of where to buy the same livestock and on how I come up with the prices. Because of this the community treats me differently unlike that time when I was going through GBV and my business was not doing good. People even invite me to attend important event/functions because they now feel I am worth something and can contribute to the community in away.

Certain perceptions of looking at women as failures have changed because of what is happening to me and other trained survivors of GBV. Because they have examples of possibilities in us.

In this training, I have learnt that it is not good to give up in business even if you encounter losses but just find better way of doing your business. One has to believe in him/ herself and have confidence in all your dealings. By 2030, I want to have my own building where I will be operating from and to also employ a number of youths.