Zimbabwe: Hilda Mudzonga

Zimbabwe: Hilda Mudzonga

Date: May 19, 2016
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When I first met Gender Links in 2013 I was a very bitter person and I always cried when relating my story. After going through some counselling and the entrepreneurship programme I realised that nothing was larger than life and I only needed to be the change that I wanted in my life. I had never looked at myself positively, instead I expected other people to feel sorry and help me since I was a widow but the entrepreneurship programme transformed me into a new being.  I got to understand that I had the keys to my success.

My name is Hilda Mudzonga, it was my pleasure to find an organisation which l shared my problems with. My life was devastated because of poverty. Meeting up with Gender Links was a miracle l had never dreamt of. I greatly appreciate this organization for changing my life from poverty to the best average life. I am a widow that was known by society with poverty, I was thrown out of the house after my husband’s death and things got worse. I was not able to afford decent meals. The three training courses which were offered by Gender Links helped me to acquire knowledge on business management. l started running my small business of selling tomatoes with the transport money l saved from Gender Links. Knowledge about financial management is one of the lessons that is helping my business to grow.

When my husband Simon Chikomba passed away, my mother in-law Laina Chikomba insisted that I leave and move on with my life despite the fact that I was not willing to do so. My children and I had nowhere to go but I moved in with my brother who was not comfortable living with me in the family house. I faced a lot of harassment in his hands. He would throw away food while we slept on empty stomachs. He did not want us to make use of the kitchen. We would make fire and cook from outside the kitchen.

Sister Thandiwe emphasised the fact that in each one of us there is a lot of potential that is waiting to be unleashed and put to good use. Just like a battery full of energy and power until it is connected or a caged bird once set free it can spread its wings and fly to the highest places where no one could ever imagine possible. I felt this making sense in my life and began to feel that only the sky was the limit as far as my success was concerned. The trainer also emphasised on how imperative it is to venture into projects no matter how small they may seem to be as long as one realises some profit to make a little difference in their lives. We were taught on how to approach banks for loans which was very enlightening. I found myself drafting a detailed business plan without any difficulties and I felt so proud of myself.

After the training course I went back and looked for part time jobs where I clean, wash and iron for people. This is something I had never thought of doing before. With the reimbursements I received from Gender Links I settled the debts I owed the municipality. I am now able to provide for my children and we are no longer sleeping without food as before. My brother and I have a sound relationship because he respects and listens to my views. I believe that it is because I no longer beg for food or trouble them with my problems. We visit each other which was previously not the case. My brother now consults me on family matters and values my views.

Going forward my bigger plans are to breed chickens as I am building a capital reserve from the little money that I am earning from doing part time jobs. I had been watching my brother doing poultry production and had done well for himself. He bought himself a stand where he is now staying with his family. Early this year I managed to register my children for the BEAM fund for school fees. In this way I do not have to worry about their school fees.

I am currently saving so as to be able to do poultry production starting with at least fifty birds. Another quick way to raise capital would be to get a loan from the bank but it is easier to get loans from the bank if you approach them as a group and I am hoping to find more women with the same vision as mine so that we can form a co-operative. I am grateful to Gender Links for making me realise my fullest potential and for moulding me into the woman I am today. With Gender Links, l lost nothing but I acquired the lifetime knowledge which l will be forever grateful to. My aim is to be a great business woman by 2030 with a stable company and several workers.