Zimbabwe: Sheiler Zengeni

Zimbabwe: Sheiler Zengeni

Date: May 18, 2016
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Whenever I hear about the name Gender Links (GL) I think about the importance of having a business. It is important to have a business no matter how small just to earn money. I also think about the importance of giving equal opportunities to both men and women in entrepreneurship. I should have confidence in whatever I do.

I started the training in October 2013. There were three phases in the training and I attended all of them. I wanted knowledge of business and gender based violence and this is what motivated me to attend all the courses. The most important thing that I learned from the training is how to develop myself. All the things I learnt were useful to me. I never had any challenges during the training programme.

Before the training I did not know how to run my business properly. I was always in debts and would continuously borrow from other people. This created pressure on my finances as I had to pay off the debts, reinvest and be able to fend for the family. There has been a great change in my life. Now I can afford to take care of my family without having to borrow. I gained a lot from the training and I am where I am because of the training. I did not know how to write a business plan, but now I can prepare a well presented business plan without seeking help from people. I also learnt about gender based violence and now I know that there is no difference between male and female entrepreneurs. Women can also do what were previously men’s jobs. Chiredzi council helped me by linking me to GL. ZB bank also assisted me by making it easier for me to opening a bank account.

My husband used to be violent towards me, but he is now late. My family members used to look down upon me, but ever since I completed the training they are now having a positive perception of me. I am a cross border trader. I buy clothes from South Africa and sale in Chiredzi. My friend gave me a place where I am selling my clothes. I have a detailed business plan and I am following it. I also keep records of transactions and I do a comparison of actual output with the plan. The business is doing well. They have seen that I am now a serious entrepreneur and it is all because of the training. I am now seen as a worth person in the family. I am having a great relationship with my relatives and my in laws. I am taking care of my children. I also keep records of my business. I believe that economic empowerment alone cannot help reduce domestic violence; it can actually cause people to fight if they do not understand. Economic empowerment should come after women have been educated about their rights and have received counseling on their experiences. Without first forgiving their abusers, most women will retaliate for the wrong deeds which they experienced from their husbands once they are empowered.

The changes in my life are influencing others in the community. They are inspired with the way I am doing business. They praise me for what I am doing and the influence I am having on others. We are now able to attend and participate in gatherings which relate to the raising of gender based violence awareness. As a small group from GL training, we have managed to help other women who were being abused. We taught them how to overcome the violence and ways to get over the stress caused by the violence. We are also sharing with other people in the community about what we have learnt in the training. We are prepared to attend and participate in gatherings meant to raise awareness.

I learnt about gender based violence and gender equality. We also learnt about entrepreneurship where we were taught about business planning and financial management. I am applying everything I was taught in my business and I will continue to use the concepts in future. I look forward to having my business growing. I also expect to get licensed by the council, so that my business will be registered. By the year 2030 I will be having a clothing shop and will be an employer. I also expect to be having my own car by the year 2030. I thank GL for a very important thing they did in my life. I always pray to God for the organisation that their efforts should reach out to many people out there. I wish they continue doing the good work and opening the eyes of many to come out of their ignorance.