Zimbabwe: Dorcas Ncube

Zimbabwe: Dorcas Ncube

Date: May 17, 2016
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Manipulated, hindered from economic empowerment and redeemed by the entrepreneurial skills

For my entire life l have been submerged and not given the opportunity to empower myself but Gender Links (GL) has assisted me in breaking the shackles that denied me the opportunity to be economically empowered and also has assisted me in building my self-esteem and pride.

l got married to Norman* when l was 20years old and we were blessed with a daughter. I usually did household chores for some residents in low density areas so as to bring income and help my husband in supporting the family.  We lived happily and my husband until one day he came back from work and did not find me home. He started physically abusing me and he never allowed me to go and look for any manual job so as to be able to bring income to my family. Because he verbally and physically abused me, it became difficult for me to go out and associate with other people and even to visit my relatives because l was ashamed of my situation. This also made me believe that in marriage people suffer and wives should submit to their husbands and be loyal and submissive too. My husband used to drink a lot and during that time he did not bring any income at home and also did not allow me to look for a job. The situation became worse when he threatened to stab me with a knife and also promised to kill his own mother who usually came to give us advice on how to resolve our issues. The whole situation made me feel miserable and l then began to seek solace in drinking beer like what he did and when l did that he poured boiling water on me and that is when l realized that l will not be able to survive that way.

Gender Links has played a very pivotal role in my life especially in building my self-esteem, building confidence and also in showing me that there is more in life than depending on men. Through attending workshops conducted by Gender Links, l have been enlightened on issues concerning business management and also on women empowerment. I was linked to Gender Links in 2014 through the Msasa project and since then my life has been transformed. The entrepreneurship program has assisted me to a greater extent because l was able to start a business and it encouraged me to be self-reliant in everything that l do.

Through GL l was able to come up with a business plan and l was given land for agriculture by the Bulawayo City Council and l started a vegetable garden which encouraged me to engage in the vending business. The entrepreneurship program has greatly played a crucial role in changing my life because l can now manage my business on my own and be able to support my family.

I have brought change to my community especially to the women that l am working with, especially on the issues concerning Gender Based Violence and business management in terms of keeping and updating financial records. Most of the women who help me in my vegetable garden have gained more knowledge especially on the GBV issues like verbal and emotional abuse. Most of the women are not aware of their rights but to me GL has become an eye opener.

GL has made me to gain my self-esteem back and to feel that life does not revolve around men and that l have the ability to do more and be independent. Although Norman died when he was still abusive l was able to move on with life and to participate in the economic activities like other women. I am proud of myself especially looking at what l went through in my life. GL has showed me the importance of being self-empowered and also the need to be independent as a woman.

I feel honored to be part of entrepreneurship program because this has taught me a lot on life skills and l have become a role model to other women in the society. Also through the training l learnt a lot on how to come up with a budget in business. I also opened a bank account and this has made it easy for me to manage my finances and this has largely assisted me in supporting my family.