Zimbabwe: *Petronella

Zimbabwe: *Petronella

Date: May 17, 2016
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It was on the 7th of October 2013 when I meet the Gender Links (GL) people at Chegutu Housing Department. I was introduced to GL and how it operates. I was later interviewed for my I story and I wrote it down. It was very painful to do it since it was my first encounter with them but later on I felt that something was lifted off my shoulders by simply sharing my story.

I attended all workshops in Chegutu. The first phase of the training was conducted at Chegutu Housing Department. The second workshop was done at Chegutu Town House and the third phase was conducted at T. P Rukawo Motel here in Chegutu.

I learnt that GBV must be reported and I was given useful tips on how to control all forms of abuse. Instead of running around screaming for help I was made to be bold enough to claim my rights. The entire programme was very useful to me and there is no part I found least useful. It was very difficult for me to interact with society but the training gave me the confidence to do so. I was taught to draft a well detailed business plan with all eight stages that includes business description, target market, competition, marketing and sales plan, operations plan and production, management structure, future developments and financials. On financials I faced some challenges on how to draft a cash flow statement. I did not face any problems from anyone from my community because they are the people I was used to.

Before GL I used to work as a Personal Assistant to the director of BB & B Geological Consultancy due to economic hardships. When I stopped going to work I became a full time house wife. The training opened my eyes and made me realise that I was capable of doing something rather than running around looking for employment. I opened a flea market at Green Pastures building. It was very difficult to start but the knowledge that I gained during the training saw me through. I managed to face and overcome all the problems that I encountered. The Chegutu Town Council did not help me much as to my expectations except promising us space for the Netone project. I managed to establish links with Wisrod investment a financial institution that gives loans. I was also linked to ZB Bank and I have plans to submit my business plan so that I will get a loan.

Before GL I experienced GBV in my marriage which I survived by the grace of God. I am no longer facing any abuse because my husband now sees me as a real wife and he is now a loving father. However, we still have a few things to polish up in our marriage. These days we sit down to plan together as husband and wife. He is now providing for the family. He is now always quick to apologise when he realised that he had done something wrong. My husband stopped engaging in extra marital affairs and he now spends most of his time with our children.

The community is learning a lot from me. Many people now know that being self reliant is an effective way of ending or reducing gender based violence. Levels of violence in my house significantly decreased after I was economically empowered. This has helped many people who observed my experiences and took them as a lesson. The community views me a conqueror. I had not taken any actions as yet to change laws or harmful practices but I changed the attitude and behaviour of women who are experiencing gender based violence.

My flea market business is currently not performing well due to the economic situation currently facing our country. However, the fact that I was taught that at times sales will be low encourages me not to lose hope. I am planning to acquire my own commercial stand and built my own shop. This will make me reduce expenses since I will not be paying rent and I will be benefiting through renting the premises to other people. I feel that by 2030 I will be millionaire living in a double storey house, owning a car for business. I will also be running a farming project and have 10 workers working in my three shops. I thank you GL, if it was not you I will not be who I am today. Keep up the good work.