Zimbabwe: Mersy Shuhwa

Zimbabwe: Mersy Shuhwa

Date: May 17, 2016
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Gender Links (GL) brought peace of mind into my life. I now know the types of violence one can be subjected to. The training programme removed my ignorance and I now stand for my rights. I learnt about gender based violence (GBV) and entrepreneurship for the first time.

I first met GL in October 2013. I managed to attend all the phases. The training programme brought peace of mind in my life and I became eager to learn more. All the things we were taught are relevant in my life. I now understand many things relating to gender equality and I am applying the knowledge. I am now sharing with others my experiences and people are giving positive testimonies. This for me is a sign that the knowledge I acquired from the training is relevant in people’s lives. I did not face challenges in attending the training. The way the courses were being conducted was accommodative to all of us.

Prior to the training I used to do menial jobs and I was a cross border trader. I did not know how to effectively and efficiently run a business. I was surviving from hand to mouth. I wanted to immediately start a business after the training, but I lacked the necessary financial resources. I started saving and I later boosted my business from money from the financing schemes I had joined. After the training programme I started applying the knowledge in my business. The business is now running smoothly. I used to look down upon myself but I now have high self-esteem. I now plan for my business and do computations of my profits. The training programme has helped me a lot to be where I am today. I stopped doing menial jobs after I got employed at a sugar refinery company. Nowadays I get more money from my job at the sugar refinery company and cross border trading activities. I am grateful for the help I got from Chiredzi Town Council. The council linked me to GL and this has changed my life a lot. Had it not been for the council I would not have met GL. I also got assistance from Musasa Project who taught me about gender based violence (GBV) and referred me to the council. The Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender & Community Development (MWAGCD) also assisted us by encouraging us to venture into financing schemes. As participants of the training programme we help each other in marketing our various products.

I was abused by my husband before I joined the training programme. At the moment I no longer experience violence. I now know my rights and where to go if I am abused. I stand for my rights and I am not deterred from doing business because of my sex. I relate well with people around me. People who used to look down upon me are now seeing me as an equal. I am now being treated with respect. I am taking good care of my child. My husband used to abuse me by taking advantage of my economic condition.

Other women are beginning to venture into business. I am now a worth person in the community and people are coming to me for business advice. Some are following what I would have told them. Other women are also coming to me, to get advice on how to deal with abuse. I share my story with them and tell them about gender equality and how it can be achieved. I also work with other women to raise awareness on GBV in the community and we target men, women and children.

I learnt about market research, business planning, entrepreneurship and financial management. I will apply these in my business. My future plans are to have a number of shops selling clothes. I also want to have my own residential house and to send my child to a better school. I will continue to work on my confidence. By the year 2030 I will be an employer of many people. I will have ventured into other businesses. I will work hard to achieve all my goals. I thank GL for the knowledge they gave us. Our lives have changed significantly. I wish they continue doing the good works and reach out to others. I wish GL a long life.