Zimbabwe: *Zandi

Zimbabwe: *Zandi

Date: May 17, 2016
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I have been dependent and relying on my husband to survive and the desire to economically empower myself was shattered when l became abused and denied the opportunity to be economically independent. Gender Links rescued me from my misery and equipped me with entrepreneurship skills on how to survive.

My name is Zandi* l got married when l was young and l first thought that my husband Themba* should provide everything for me to survive. At first life was easy because Themba* did everything for me and he never wanted me to work or look for a job. I became used to my situation not realizing that l was submerged and denied the opportunity to be independent. Life started to change when l had my first child. Themba* stopped supporting the family and he always said that he does not have money. Life became difficult because l had no money to take care of my child. Themba* started to abuse me physically and verbally and l lived in fear because l was always threatened. Themba* lost his job and he went to Botswana to look for a new job. I expected him to support his family when he got a new job but what then he became more aggressive and abusive every day. The fact that l had no income l started to suffer with my child, sometimes l would ask for food from my relatives because l was not working and Themba*could not provide anymore. I went through a very tough situation and had no strategies on how to start a new life again.

I heard about Gender Links from a friend who was also a Gender Based Violence survivor and she advised me to join the team to be able to start a new life again. I attended all the trainings and l benefited a lot under the program because l learnt how to start up a business and how to manage a business. I started a business in cross border trading and through applying the skills that l attained from the workshop l was able to update all my financial records and also save my money. With the help from Gender Links l was also able to open a bank account so as to save my money.

Through the entrepreneurship program l have been able to budget my money and l have rented a shop to sell sportswear and this has allowed me to be able to survive with my family. The GL program has played a key role in my life because l have been able to buy my property and also pay school fees for my children. This in a way has made it easy for me and my husband to survive because we now share the responsibilities at family level.

My business has been progressing very well and l am now able to support my family. Being economically empowered women has made me to take care of my family at first l was not able to support my parents because l only dependent from my husband’s income. The entrepreneurship program has assisted me to a greater extent because it has also allowed me to resolve my relationship with my family especially my husband.

The entrepreneurship program has allowed me to associate with all the different types of people in the community and has allowed me to have more customers in my business. I have gained my strength and l am now able to advise other women on the issues concerning GBV. Through this program l have noticed that it is difficult for me to live a life depending on other people to get income.

In my community l have been able to join clubs on rotating credits and also since l joined the entrepreneurship program l have been able to participate in community burial clubs. For example in my community l participate in Zibuthe community development club. The entrepreneurship has also allowed me to build my confidence back.

I feel honored and l am proud of Gender Links for assisting me to be part of the entrepreneurship program. I am now an economically active woman who brings income to her family and have become a benefactor to some of my family members. The entrepreneurship program has transformed my life and made it easier.