Zimbabwe: *Chipo Hove

Zimbabwe: *Chipo Hove

Date: May 17, 2016
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My name is Chipo Hove* and I am glad to write my second story with a difference. Gender Links (GL) entrepreneurship programme brought direction into my life through the training. It was a beautiful journey of learning where I managed to gain knowledge which l believe my future ahead is bright.

I meet Gender Links in October 2013, when I was told they had come to teach us about entrepreneurship. I attended all three phases of training which were all very important because everything l learnt is helping me now in my business.  All my life I only thought that only men must work and provide while women like myself must only stay at home making babies. The training opened up my mind with the knowledge by teaching me to be an entrepreneur. I was taught how to start a business and manage it in order for the business to grow and for the owner to enjoy the benefits. The training also helped me to know the difference between men and women. This was explained in a topic called Gender and Sex. Throughout the training everything went on smoothly I did not face any challenge.

Prior to becoming a beneficiary I had a business buying and selling clothes. My business was frustrating due to mismanagement; I could not manage my business as at the end of each month I did not make any profit. Due to this I was not be able to provide for my family or dress presentably. I gained experience from the training, applying the skills and knowledge I gained and my business has transformed for the better. The most significant aspect I acquired from this training was market research. I was taught to communicate with my customers before I make orders to avoid ordering unnecessary stuff. Profit saving has also helped me to grow my business. The training was of more use to me in my business. After I finished training I struggled to get capital to start my business. A neighbour helped me with capital after she was touched by the way I was surviving with my children. The council has promised to help us with business and residential stands which we are still waiting for.

I experienced gender based violence (GBV) from the beginning of my marriage; my husband had a first marriage and older children from that marriage. I suffered violence from my husband and his children. Physical and emotional abuse killed my self-esteem and confidence. The abuse was extreme to the extent that my husband denied responsibility of our children. He would always stop me from reporting him to the police, he used to threaten me that since he is a policeman there was nothing I could do about his behaviour. The violence has stopped now because I now know where to go and to stand for my rights. My husband now respects me for what l do. He is now contributing to the upkeep of our children. He asks for my opinion in some of the family decisions. This all happened after the training. My husband’s children also respect me and this makes me feel valuable and appreciated.

The most exciting part of this story, for many years l could not afford to take care of my parents yet they were always in need of my help. When my husband could not agree to provide for his own children it was very difficult to ask anything from him for my parents. After GL trained me I can afford to take of my parents without any difficult. My family is overjoyed because of the change. Paying school fees and dressing up my children is no longer a struggle for me anymore. Based on my experience I believe that empowering a women economically reduces violence for it has happened in my own marriage. My husband has changed as a result from my hard work.

In my community people are still in shock because my change, this is making me feel more confident as l now give advice to other women in my community and from my church. I encourage them to find small businesses to start for them to gain respect from their partners and families. I helped a certain woman called Mrs Sithole to set up her own business and she is following my advice and her business is picking up well.

Gender Links Training taught me a lot of lessons, I learnt about business planning, project testing whereby I allow my customers to try the clothes to make sure they like the fitting before they buy. I applied this skill in my business and my business is blooming because of this skill. Market survey has helped me as well as I am applying it and business is growing because l now make orders that my customers need. In the future I wish to build a shop where I will be selling my clothes would like to add shoes in my business. In 2030 I want to build my own house to keep on work hard for my business to grow. I want to express my deepest appreciation to Gender Links for an opportunity to learn which has made me view life differently.