Zimbabwe: *Doda

Zimbabwe: *Doda

Date: May 17, 2016
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“Emotionally tortured, poverty stricken and rescued by entrepreneurship skills”

I have lived under misery and poverty and being a married woman made me so reluctant thinking my husband would provide but Gender Links transformed me to become an independent and economically powerful woman.

My name is Roda* l have lived under poverty for many years and thinking that James* who was my husband would provide since l was married to him. We lived happily after our wedding with James until he went to the city to look for a better job since our family had grown big. When James came to the city he stopped supporting his children and he did not pay their school fees as he used to do. I struggled to get food for the children and to pay their school fees since l was not working. I decided to follow James so as to know why he did not support his children only to find out that he was now married to another woman. When l tried to question him about making decisions without me he physically abused me and forced me to go back home and look after the children. When James family heard that me and James had separated they took all the cattle that l had bought with James. Life became so difficult because l had nowhere to start and the children wanted money for school fees and food from me.

When l came to Bulawayo l heard about Gender Links from a workshop that was organized by Msasa. I attended the entrepreneurship training program and l was taught on how to start a business and also how to manage it. I received transport reimbursement from the training and saved the money to start my business. l was able to start a business of selling vegetables and fruits. I tried to apply all the skills from the entrepreneurship program so as to develop my business. The entrepreneurship program has played a crucial role in my life because l am now able to save my money and l am able to record and update my financial transactions.

From last year my business has been growing and l am looking forward at developing my business and also to have a larger market. The entrepreneurship program played a pivotal role in transforming and empowering me economically because l am now able to support my children and pay their school fees on my own.

Through the entrepreneurship program, l have also been able to participate in the community programs and this in a way has allowed me to gain respect from the community members at large. At community level, l have been able to join the Progressive Residents Association program which basically advises women on life skills GBV issues, and also issues concerning women empowerment. This in a way has boosted my confidence and also l have been able to share with other women on Gender Based Violence issues and also teaching them on their rights.

The entrepreneurship program has brought change at individual level because l am now able to make decisions on my own. Before participating in the entrepreneurship program l was traumatized because of the abuse that l went through. The entrepreneurship program has encouraged me and gave me the opportunity to participate economically and empower my children also. Through the skills from the entrepreneurship program l am looking forward at developing my business and also sharing my knowledge to some women especially in the rural areas on how to manage a business. Also the program has unveiled the survival skills especially to the women who are dependent on man for survival.

The Gender Links program has become an eye opener to me especially on issues concerning women empowerment and my rights as a woman. I have noticed that l have been abused and l was comfortable in my poverty not aware that l have the ability to do more for myself, and also the community at large. I thank Gender Links for equipping me with the skills to start a business and on how to associate with other members of society especially in business.