Zimbabwe: *Dudu

Zimbabwe: *Dudu

Date: May 17, 2016
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“Abandoned, stricken by poverty but now economically empowered”

Poverty became the order of the day and having lost the benefactor, life became more difficult but Gender Links (GL) empowered me and gave me the skills on how to survive and this has redeemed me from all the poverty and abuse that l was going through.

My name is Dudu* l was introduced to GL when l was drowning in poverty and had no skills and ideas on how to survive and to support my family. Life turned out to be sour when my husband Innocent* started to be abusive and intolerant at the same time. Innocent used to threaten me a lot because he knew that l had nowhere to go. l lived with him in Botswana and he was a Tswana and l was a foreigner. It became so difficult for me to report his abusive nature towards me because he knew that l will be arrested too because l was not a citizen there. Life was not easy because he could go for many days and live us without food and my child and when he came back, he would accuse me of letting my boyfriends in his house. I lived there and had no money to take care of myself and my child. Innocent abandoned me and my child and he knew that l will not go nowhere because l had no money and l was not working too.

Innocent did not allow me to talk with other women even the closest neighbors because he said l did not belong to their country so l had no right to associate with anyone in their community. Life became worse when our child got burnt. I went to the hospital to stay with my child and when I came back home, l found him with a new wife who was a Tswana. I had nothing to say because l found my bag at the door step. I took my bag and came back home that is when l started a new life and heard about GL.

When l attended the entrepreneurship training program l was able to come up with a business plan so as to make a living out of it. I was given transport reimbursement in the training and l was able to add that money to the little that l had so as to start up a small business. The entrepreneurship program assisted me to a greater extent because it gave me skills on how to manage my small business to what it is today.

Through the GL program l was able to save the little that l had and started to buy clothes form South Africa and selling them this side. My business has been proceeding very well because l have been able to save money, support my family and am now able to keep my financial records and above all l was able to open a bank account so as to save my money safely.

The entrepreneurship program has made me to gain my pride and also respect amongst my community members compared to the way they viewed me. Since l started participating in the Gender Links program my life has changed financially, and socially. Through my business l can now pay school fees for my child and also pay school fees for my siblings. Life has changed and l am now able to associate with other women in the community and share ideas. l have achieved a lot because l have managed to buy my own property and l am the one who takes care of my parents and l am also looking forward to continue with my business because it has brought change to my life.

I am proud of myself and of what Gender Links has done to my life because l have gained my sense of identity, confidence, pride and self-esteem. Although it was difficult for me to fit in the society again Gender Links has made it possible for me to know who l am and to participate in all community development programs.

I have been given the opportunity to advice some of the women in my community on issues of Gender Based Violence and making them aware of their rights. Gender Links has changed my life in a positive way and has made me a strong and independent woman.