Botswana: Bitterness is gone

Date: November 8, 2016
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Chobe, Botswana, 19 November, 2015: I am a 54 year old, married in 1992. I had four boys in the marriage and divorced in 2003. I looked down upon myself and had nothing to do until I met Gender Links (GL) and they educated us on abuse and how to move from being a victim to being a survivor.

Before the training I hated my ex-husband and all his family as I felt they wasted my time with this marriage. I now can relate well with the family. The bitterness is gone. I can talk to my ex-husband in a friendly manner. We are even in the same village committee in Kachikau. He has moved on and re married and I do not have a problem with that.

In 2013 my best friend Gladys Simon invited me for a Gender Links workshop. I attended all the workshops offered. They taught us how to boost our self-esteem and they taught us business skills. Now I am a changed person thanks to Gender Links.

The most important thing for me was selecting the business I wanted to do, pricing, business plan writing and computer skills. Each topic offered was very useful. My main challenge was lack of concentration but the more I attended the more interesting it became. I then put more effort in studying and had to wait anxiously for the next training.

Before I participated in the workshops I had very low self- esteem and I would sit in front of the television for hours on end not seeing what was being shown. I would run out of electricity and go house to house borrowing as little as P10 to buy electricity.

This time around I am at a point where I am constructing at my cultural home a business which the training helped me to start. I was taught how to identify a business by identifying needs in our community. The Gender focal person and my chief encouraged me to push and start the business.

I have already started by constructing a Bushmen hut and my business was rated best at the national Gender Links Summit and second best at the regional summit. I was seen on TV and I am the talk of the town after winning two awards at the national and regional summits.

I have realised that there is a link between gender based violence (GBV) and economic empowerment because when you are financially independent you do not annoy anyone by asking for this and that. You buy what you want when you want it with your own money and within your means. Ladies in my community love to associate with me. They heard about me on radio. They also want to meet with GL officers as they too want the same lessons given to me by GL.

I have not been able to change laws but I have changed the way people relate to me. Whenever there is an event I take the opportunity to educate people on abuse, self-esteem and economic empowerment. In my journey with Gender Links I have learnt that for me to be able to achieve I need to start by believing in myself. I am doing my best to apply what I have learnt practically in the business that I have started.

I hope that in future my business will flourish since I know the dos and don’ts in business and not to quit when you encounter problems. In 2030 I see my business that I started as a small Bushmen hut having expanded and having many cultural huts for tourists to spend a night in and have a cultural experience. I also want to have started a curio shop that sells cultural items and having expanded to other villages and holding cultural events.

My life has changed and I feel like a millionaire and a celebrity. Kgosi and the Magana – ka – kgomo cultural group are planning an official launch for my cultural village. The women have pledged to assist me with the construction of mud huts. Lastly I have learnt that plans are underway for Gender Affairs to fund individuals. I am forever grateful to Gender Links for opening my eyes and making me realise my potential.

(Sense Mokoti is a participant in the GL Empowering Women, Ending Violence programme in Botswana. This article is part of a special Gender Links News Service Series for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day).

One thought on “Botswana: Bitterness is gone”

TR. MAINE says:

I felt so relieved after reading the above article or what the lady experienced. Before I read this article I always belittled myself and was so hard on myself and sometimes felt like a failure or why didn’t I see this coming…Mentally I made a shift today that I am not alone.

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