Zimbabwe: Zhuwana Razao

Zimbabwe: Zhuwana Razao

Date: May 19, 2016
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I got employment so as to raise capital to start my business but what I thought to be a solution turned out to be wrong. I faced more abuse at the workplace and all hope was lost. Moving forward with life was a challenging undertaking that was pegged beyond my reach.

My name is Zhuwana Razao I met Gender Links in 2013 and I managed to participate in all the three stages of the entrepreneurship training. During the training I found the lecture on gender based violence very useful because it opened my eyes and made me aware of my rights. I also took seriously the business management training because I saw it as the only way to escape from the kind of life that I was living in.

Gender Links taught me to move forward with my life and leave the past behind me. They equipped me with entrepreneurial skills and restored my lost hope. I was living in darkness as I was not aware of my rights as a woman. The entrepreneurial skills motivated me to start my own business. I looked for a job and got one as a nurse aid at a local private surgery with the intention to raise capital to start my business. What I thought to be the only gateway to my new business turned out to be the beginning of a new problem.

Due to my desperation I assumed duty without any written agreement or contract as I thought that the verbal agreement was enough. The working conditions were not favourable because I was forced to work beyond normal working hours without being compensated. My employer was not paying my wages and he cited the liquidity crunch facing the country as the cause. Whenever I asked for my salary he used to tell me that the medical aid transactions are not being met so there is nowhere our wages are going to come from. I was working like a slave serving two surgeries without getting any payment for my service. My employer used to insult me and degrade me in public. I quit the job and went back home empty handed. My dream of finding money to start a business was shattered.

The main challenge I faced was the failure to raise capital to set up a business. I failed to put into practice the knowledge I obtained due to lack of resources. The organisation equipped me with the knowledge but resources impeded me from reaching the targeted result. During the phase two of the training programme I formed a partnership with Sister Loyce and our business flourished. We a formed a knitting business. I brought relevant skills like market research and book keeping into the business. I also explained to my partner the importance of having a bank account since she was not having one and she responded positively. Since the day she opened a bank account and implemented the new ideas I gave her the business started doing well. The peak performance of the business is realised during winter seasons because the demand for winter wear will be high. I am no longer living in the past and all my efforts are now directed towards one goal that is, taking my business to the highest level.

Immediately after I completed the stage three of the entrepreneurship process, another participant Faith Matoyi introduced me to a new business of selling jewellery and kitchenware on behalf of Table Charm a South African company. Our main task is to get orders from clients and send the compiled list to South Africa and the goods will be supplied. The Director of the company came up with that idea so as to help women who were not having source of income to do something so that they will be able to take care of themselves

On a personal development, I entered into a new relationship and I shared the important information on gender based violence I obtained from Gender Links with my new boyfriend. My boyfriend benefited through me and he now has knowledge on gender issues. Before I met Gender Links in 2013 I was living a painful life marred with insults and assaults from my husband Rashidi Joromani. The problem started the day he abducted me and kept me as his wife against my will. I failed to escape from him because he impregnated me on our first encounter so it was difficult for me to go back to my parents’ home. Since I was in a love relationship with him I decided to accept my situation and continued living with him as my husband.

When I was eight months pregnant I discovered that my husband was a married man. His wife came to my house and assaulted me. I reported the case to the police and she was charged with public violence. She was in the habit of insulting me whenever she meets me. The situation degraded and demotivated me since the insults where taking place at public places As a trained nurse aid I always ensure that I serve my society during national events. I took that as an extracurricular activity which I do on voluntary basis. Community members were surprised with the changes that took place in my life and I hope that my life will inspire many people. I have plans to acquire a residential stand and build my own house before 2030. I also have plans to start a family.