Zimbabwe: Lucia Zulu

Zimbabwe: Lucia Zulu

Date: May 17, 2016
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Fought Gender Based Violence through sewing

The Gender Links (GL) Entrepreneurship programme came as an answer to all my business challenges I had encountered over time. It was such an exciting and enlightening training course which mentored me to be a capable business woman. I realised that having the will to do business is not good enough without the knowhow. I learnt that to remain in business one has to maintain a capital reserve and this should never be used no matter how difficult the circumstances may become. Selling the right product at the right place and time is also another concept I took to the memory. This made a lot of sense to my situation and I also appreciated the importance of record keeping when in business. Everything I had done wrong in the past was corrected.

My name is Lucia Zulu I met GL in 2013 at a time when I was contemplating committing suicide so as to escape from the abuse that was being perpetrated by my husband. My encounter with the organisation made me to change my mind after realising that there are some people who are concerned about the welfare of others. I poured out all my problems to the facilitators and they helped me and gave me hope.

I successfully attended all three phases of the entrepreneurship training. During the phase one I learnt about GBV and I was very happy to know the meaning of the word gender for the first time. The second phase gave me the confidence to believe that anything that a man can do, a woman is also more than capable to do it. The third phase saw me equipped with the basics of business management. I managed to draft a detailed business plan at this stage which I am currently using. During all the phases of the training I found everything useful.

Chegutu Town Council never helped us with anything and I doubt if they are aware that we do exist. We only got help from a local micro finance company that gave us small loans to start our businesses. After I started my income generating project, all the violence stopped and I am living happily.

Let me take you back to my life before I encountered GL. I am a mother of two children. My first child is in grade five and the second one is two years old. My husband Tawanda Chakauya married another wife after his parents convinced him that I was not good enough for him. They were so happy about his new relationship and he left me and moved in with his new wife. Chakauya did not even bother about the children and he was not taking care of them. My mother-in-law took all my personal belongings claiming that they were bought by his son. I had to go to Msasa project to report my case and that is when she returned my kitchen unit and some plates only and kept the rest to herself.

I had always been an entrepreneur but I had nothing to show for it because there was never any remarkable progress as far as the business was concerned. Each time I made money I would spend it without keeping a capital reserve. Consequently, my business was on and off because I had to go back to square one and scrounge for capital in order to get back into business. I had no bank account to keep my money safe. I was not aware of the profit or loss since there were no records. There was no consistency whatsoever, I had no record of my debtors and had to think off my head which led to customer dissatisfaction as I would at times claim money from clients who would have already paid.

I am a tailor by profession and with the money I saved from the honorariums I received from GL during the workshop I bought materials and made winter school slacks. They sold quickly and with the profits I realised I secured a space where I am selling cosmetics. I am also selling bottled water and have formed a group of five women and we sing at funerals and paid for the service. All of this has been happening concurrently and has been very exciting, notable changes have happened in my life ever since my path crossed with GL. My personal relations have improved significantly. My husband and his family are now coming back to ask for forgiveness and acceptance. I have forgiven them but my friends are discouraging me from taking him back because of the way he mistreated me.

My husband’s family always visits and they were very impressed when I bought a fridge for my house. I shared with them the knowledge imparted to me by GL. I have a savings account where I am keeping all my earnings. I now have an ATM card and I now know how to use it. My husband has since moved back home and for the first time in our marriage he gave me his money for safe keeping and proper budgeting. I am now a person of worthy because of GL.

Sewing is my passion and by 2030 I hope to get a heavy duty machine with multiple functions so that I can be able to make more money. My father said I had become a real woman before he passed away in March 2014. My mother-in-law keeps showering me with praises and at times I think that it is farfetched but I was made to believe that the sky is the limit.