Zimbabwe: Audrey Masaka

Zimbabwe: Audrey Masaka

Date: May 17, 2016
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It was on the 7th of October 2013 when I met Gender Links facilitators at the Housing Director’s offices. The facilitators explained the reason why they came to our community and exactly they intend to help survivors of gender base violence.

I was instructed to write my I story before the training because they wanted to know our experiences before –we started doing anything. We started the training after one week at Chegutu town house. We learned about gender base violence and we were later taught computers. Different business management topics were introduced and successfully completed the first phase of the training. I failed to attend the second phase of the training because I was at work. My officials at my work place refused to give me time off to go and attend the workshop. Fortunately, the third phase coincided with my two weeks leave and I attended the workshop. It was a four days training were we learnt about the income and expenditure.

To me Gender Links is very important because it made me to recognize the potential in me to live independently without depending on someone. I am now able to claim my rights and I have a positive attitude towards myself. Before I met Gender Links I faced a number of problems that were deeply rooted in me “being a woman” and that turned my life upside down. I was denied the right to live with my first child. The father of my second child was not supporting me financially and left me with a heavy burden of taking care of the child. I was a victim of emotional abuse perpetrated by mother-in-law and my husband. That time I used to stay at home doing nothing productive due to lack of relevant knowledge on how to earn a decent life.

My encounter with Gender Links took me to a new platform altogether. I started cross border trading and rearing of chickens as income generating projects. The decision I made as guided by the entrepreneurial skills I acquired during the training completely changed my life. I am now taking care of my family and the entire extended family depends on me for survival. I am now able to take care of my two children without expecting any help from anyone. I managed to buy valuable assets and the whole community was surprised as they were not expecting that from me. I am living happily and afford to eat anything that my heart desires.

So far the Council has done nothing to help me. I expect that in future they will do something to help. Before my encounter with Gender Links I faced all forms of abuse and I was lacking the leverage to defend myself. The abuse stopped when I reported to the police and applied for a divorce. The divorce papers were successfully processed and I am now living freely. Many people admire the bold decision I took because my family is now enjoying life. Many people always asked me to reveal to them my source of inspiration. Victims of gender based violence are frequenting my place to seek for advice on how to handle gender base violence issues and how to be economically empowered.

Empowering a woman economically reduces the levels of gender based violence. I give testimony to that effect because the moment my financial situation was changed all forms of abuse came to an end. I was now spending most of the time doing productive work rather than concentrating on an abusive husband. I helped many women from my church and most of them are now involved in small businesses. My husband and his family now respect me and to the community, I am now a source of inspiration.

I am currently studying towards writing ordinary level mathematics to supplement my academic qualifications. My aim is to start studying for a national diploma in general nursing next year (2016). I am looking forward to a bright future, a future where I will own a house, car and a viable business. By 2030 I am looking forward t o be a fully grown business lady. Hopefully, Gender Links will continue educating more women and make a gender based violence free country possible.