Zimbabwe: Susan Machingura

Zimbabwe: Susan Machingura

Date: May 18, 2016
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Whenever I hear the name Gender Links (GL) my mind will be flooded with ways of how to eradicate violence. People in communities are fighting especially of opposite sex. Those in marriage are fighting because of many problems. There is sexual abuse, economical abuse and community abuse. All these types of violence can be stopped if people communicate properly. People should also be educated about where they can get assistance whenever they experience violence.

I first met GL in October 2013. I have managed to attend all the courses. What motivated me to attend all the courses was the desire to know more. The things we were taught are useful in my life and a lot of these things were new to me. I was taught about writing a business plan, record keeping and market research. These concepts have helped me to start making profits in my business. Nothing was least useful to me. The challenge I had was that of time. We were being trained at a faster rate and it was difficult for me to grasp some of the things during training. To overcome this challenge I started reading the notes at home and reading other literature about the courses. This helped me a lot as I have fallen in love with continuous acquiring of knowledge.

Before the training I was in business but I did not have the expertise to run a business. Now I know how to run a successful business. I now do proper business planning, market research, financial reporting and communicate properly with my customers. This has helped my business to grow and be profitable. I also do advertising and branding of the business. Through business I am now having some immovable properties. The training programme has helped me to be where I am today. Chiredzi council has helped me a lot in my business and personal life. They gave us their premises as venue for our training. They have put us on the waiting list of residential stands. We are also given free access to the council internet whenever we visit whether as a group or as individuals. I remember one day I wanted to download some document from the internet and Owen Gwasira who is our gender focal contact person assisted me. He also helped me to prepare some of my financial reports.

I experienced emotional abuse from my former husband. He went to South Africa and spent close to two years without communicating with me. When he came back we talked it over and I thought that was the end of it. He went to Gokwe and for six months he never phoned me or communicated with anyone from home. In the sixth month he phoned home and I told him that I am filling for divorce and he agreed to divorce. Ever since we divorced I no longer suffer violence from him and nothing is binding us any longer since we did not have children together. I started doing business so that I can support myself. I am now having great relationships with my relatives. I used to be a burden to them because I was not able to run my business properly. I believe economic empowerment of women can help reduce chances of being economically abused. This can reduce domestic violence in many families.

People in the community used not to know the potential in me and they were looking down upon me. Now they are seeing the properties I am acquiring and they are inspired. They are now regarding me as a high profile person. Cases of violence in my community are declining because I try by all means to educate and raise awareness in the community. Other women are copying my life style. Some have stopped going around gossiping and are engaging into projects such as cattle fattening, piggery, poultry and dress making. Some are coming to me for advice because they know I was trained by GL. They have confidence in me because they are seeing my achievements. I have given some women start up funds for their projects and they are now business people. I also offer piece jobs to the community in my business. An example is the cattle pen I want for my cattle fattening project, people are assisting me to put the structure. I feel I can train a lot other people if I am given the opportunity.

I learnt about business planning, financial reporting and market research. I have been using the concepts in my business and they are quite useful. I will continue to use the concepts in the future. I am going to continue with my business and helping people with knowledge and skills. I will also keep advising people who are experiencing gender based violence. I wish to have a bigger project, a company and to employ many people from my community. I will employ mainly youths from the community so that they will not engage into criminal activities. I will continue with my education and I wish to be a preschool teacher in the near future. I also want to work hard so that I can raise funds for an eye surgery so that my eyesight can improve. The surgery cannot be done in Zimbabwe but it can be done oversees. By the year 2030 I wish to be having a bigger company employing thousands of people. I wish to continue working with GL and wish they could give me more advice. I also wish they could assist me to get funds for my business. I would like to thank GL for everything they have done for us. I now have knowledge and I am no longer ignorant. The training motivated me and I now have six passes at O’ Level.