Zimbabwe: *Loveness

Zimbabwe: *Loveness

Date: May 17, 2016
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When I hear or see the name Gender Links (GL), what comes to my mind is the assistance I got from the organisation to have freedom in life. I now live a life which is free from the oppression of other people. I was taught to love myself and not to look down upon myself. My name is Loveness* and I first met GL in 2013 and I have managed to attend all the phases. The tutors were quite accommodating in their approach. I was encouraged by the relevance of the courses to my life. The tutors would explain things to us until we all understood. All that I learnt was and is useful in my life.

Prior to the training I used to buy and sell vegetables. I used to beg my husband for money. I am now a cross border trader who buys and sells clothes. I have financial challenges and I am failing to operate at the optimal size. The business is growing and running smoothly. The training has led me to be where I am today. Chiredzi Town Council linked me to GL and gave us their premises for the training programme. Musasa Project also assisted me by referring me to Chiredzi Town Council and also educated me about gender based violence.

My husband used to beat and shout at me. He did not support the family. He only did so whenever he felt like it. At one time he threatened me with a pistol. He had girlfriends and would not hide it from me. My in-laws also supported his promiscuity. Now they respect me and treat me as one of them. The abuse has reduced because of the training programme. Since I started my business seriously and applying the knowledge I learnt from the training, my husband started supporting me. I now contribute towards the upkeep of our children and I no longer beg my husband to support the family. He feels threatened by the achievements I have made in this short period of time. He gives me money even when I do not ask for it. I am no longer listening to gossip as I am occupied with my business most of the time. The changes in my life are influencing other people. People are motivated to change their lives and emulate me. I now relate with my husband and he is also supporting me with my business. I believe economic empowerment of women can help reduce gender based violence (GBV). I have experienced both empowerment and lack of empowerment. When I was not economically active I experienced violence and now I am empowered and the violence has gone down.

I have managed to assist other women who were experiencing GBV. I have referred some of them to Musasa Project. I also share with others the story of my life. I always encourage other women to venture into business. In my efforts to raise gender equality awareness, I have participated in the 50-50 campaign which was organised by the council.

I learnt that one should not allow others to take advantage of them. I also learnt that most of the work a man does a woman can also do and should not be unfairly segregated. I learnt about business planning, record keeping and market research. I have been using these lessons and I believe they have made my business grow. I look forward to see my business growing and have many employees. I also expect to have my own building. By the year 2030 I will own a car and a house which I will have bought using profits from my business. I thank GL for the knowledge they have given us. I am now respected by many people in my society all because of the knowledge I got from GL. I am grateful for their patience during training, as most of us were slow learners. My wish is the organisation should reach out to others who are experiencing violence.