Zimbabwe: *Mother Joy

Zimbabwe: *Mother Joy

Date: May 17, 2016
  • SHARE:

I am grateful to Gender Links (GL) who enabled me to think outside the box. During the entrepreneurship programme I learnt that one can start a business and earn profit. I came to realize that I had not done enough to improve my situation and that there is a lot one can do with their hands in order to earn a living. We were taught on how important it is to always have a nose for opportunities and be able to seize them. After the workshop I started looking for potential businesses that I could explore and realised that I did not have to look very far away from where I stood.

My name is Mother Joy* I am 56 years old. I managed to attend all three phases of the entrepreneurship training. I learnt how to start a viable business and establish reliable markets for my products. The most important lesson that I learnt is to be responsible when using money. I used to spend money without any traceable records and the situation kept me in a hand to mouth scenario that saw me depending on other people for survival.

I live with my husband and four grandchildren in the plots surrounding Chegutu. The mother of the four grandchildren is out of the country but she is struggling to make ends meet. She cannot send money to help with the children’s upkeep. It is my husband’s responsibility to ensure that the children go to school and have enough food to eat. Life was always difficult as we survived on doing piece jobs in other people’s farms. We could not afford to buy inputs so that we could farm on our own land which made life very hard especially for the children who need to go to school.

After the workshop I managed to raise US $ 275.  I went and obtained a loan of US $ 100 from a macro financing institution. With a total of US $ 375 I purchased all the inputs needed to start farming. When the rains finally fall in October 2013, we planted and the crops did very well. As people who were already familiar with farm work it was very easy for us to work hard on our farm knowing that we were the beneficiaries of the produce. For the first time in my life I felt very valuable because I was working on my own to better my life and that of my grandchildren. My husband was very pleased and was keen to know more about this organization called GL. I shared with him everything that I learnt from the entrepreneurship programme.

We harvested three and half tonnes of maize grain from two acres of land. We have not yet sold the produce at the moment because the market is still flooded with a lot of supply such that the price per tonne is very low. The price is US $ 195 per tonne as opposed to US $ 300 per same quantity as of December 2013. My husband reckons that if we sell to individuals in small quantities we will realize more profit. Like we were taught that timing is everything, the prices are likely to go up towards the beginning of the next rainy season.

Unlike in the past we now have food in the house and have a small garden where we are growing vegetables and tomatoes. We sell the surplus and this has enabled us to meet some of the little expenses that we incur on daily basis. Our neighbours have noted the remarkable difference in our lifestyle so much that I have found myself helping them with ideas on how to work and get rid of poverty. We are hoping to start keeping layers chickens after selling the maize.   The Council did not help us in any way. Nevertheless, I have plans to increase the crop production by 2030. By that time I must be owning a large scale farm and own farming machinery.