Zimbabwe: Jester Mpofu

Zimbabwe: Jester Mpofu

Date: May 17, 2016
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I never knew that life could turn out to be this hard and as educated as l am, l felt as if l was a lesser human being solely created to fulfill the life equation of man. The entrepreneurship program rescued me from the terrible misery and assisted me in improving my life economically.

l was rescued by Gender Links (GL) when l was emotionally and physical abused by Thabani* who was my husband for 5years. I lived in fear because l was threatened every day of my life and when l reported my case to the police it was useless because it made the abuse even worse. My husband was employed and had a good paying job but he used his money to support his girlfriends and for buying beer while l and my children lived in poverty. I survived buy begging for food from family members and friends. The situation became worse almost every day because the children were also negatively affected because they did not attend school. Whenever l asked for money for school fees he would abuse me and threaten to kill me. The abuse that l was going through changed me to a social pariah. l became naive and felt so ashamed to associate with other community members. This affected me emotionally and it became difficult for me to fit in to the society again until I was introduced to Gender Links.

I heard about GL from one of the women who is also a Gender Based Violence survivor and she advised me to join the entrepreneurship program so as to be able to survive and be independent. The Gender Links program has not only transformed my economic life only but has also played a pivotal role in transforming my social life to a greater extent.

Through the GL program l noticed how the society at large degrade women. I have noticed that when a woman is not economically empowered, she is viewed as lazy and also dependent. Gender Links has played a major role in making me aware especially on women’s rights and giving me the opportunity to know what am capable of doing as a woman. At community level people used to look down upon me and l felt so dehumanized and degraded to an extent that l could not even associate with other women. I have managed to start my own business and support my family especially my children.

The entrepreneurship program has taught me on how to come up with a business plan and how to manage my business in terms of keeping my financial books. GL has become an eye opener to me because I was not able to associate with different people in the society. Through the entrepreneurship program l was able to start my own business buying beer from wholesales and selling it in the community. At first people in the community did not understand my business and some of the women were not supportive but with time most of the community members supported me and l am looking forward to expand my business and get a bigger place to sell a variety of wares.

Through the Gender Links program, l now feel that l have a sense of belonging and l can contribute to the growth of the society at large especially through disseminating information especially on GBV issues. I now feel that l am part of the society because l can now associate with other women and also share ideas on different issues. I have become an inspiration to other women in the community because l have been advising other women especially vendors on how to manage their finances and also on how to keep financial records so as to be able to see the growth of their business.

I am so happy that am one of the Gender Based Violence survivors under Gender Links because this has made me to gain respect, self-esteem and confidence amongst other women and the community at large. Gender Links has given me the opportunity to explore my abilities especially on availing the capabilities that l have as a woman in a patriarchal society.as l have become an inspiration and role model to my community members.