ACHIEVING real progress regarding the situation of women in society has, for a number of years, been a priority for, Hand in Hand Zimbabwe (HHZ), a non-profit organisation which helps resource limited and marginalised people in rural communities, through jobs creation.
A case in point is that of a 55-year-old Caroline Nkala from Lupane who before she met Hand in Hand Zimbabwe could barely afford to take care of and pay school fees for her seven children.
Many thanks to HHZ who came to her rescue as she is now a proud owner of a grocery shop that has completely changed her life.
“Before joining Hand in Hand, I was facing a lot of challenges in my life and marriage such as failure to buy food and pay my children’s school fees. The situation was made worse because my husband was unemployed,” said Nkala.
This is because due to the economic instability, employment opportunities are scarce in most rural set-ups in Zimbabwe where a majority of people survive on subsistence agriculture.
Nkala who now affords to pay school fees amounting to $40 for each of her seven children, joined HHZ in 2015 under the Garia SHG.
The group comprises seven members (6 women and a man) who contribute $8 per month.
To start her escape route from poverty, in 2016, Caroline borrowed $500 from the group and managed to build a grocery store where she sells food items and detergents.
She built the store after going through the Hand in Hand Opportunity Identification module.
“After going through the business entrepreneurship trainings from Hand in Hand Zimbabwe, I realised that there were a lot of opportunities in my community that I can utilize to make a successful living. That led me to open a profitable grocery store since no similar service was available in my community.
“I make a significant profit of between $650 to $700 per month and I have since regained the money I used to build the shop,” she said.
In all this, the now successful businesswoman, boasts of the knowledge she got from HHZ saying the organisation taught her to be self-dependence as a woman, to work hard and to effectively manage her business.
“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has moulded me into a visionary. Building a shop in a rural set up was not easy but I managed to do it because of the knowledge I acquired from the organisation”.
Before she joined HHZ she was into horticulture but that source of livelihood was not profitable as she didn’t have the skills and knowledge to manage it.
“Life was hard because I only managed to put a little food on the table and could not send my children to school. Selling vegetables could not sustain all my needs therefore, the intervention of Hand in Hand Zimbabwe was and is still of great help in my life”.
Nkala said apart from taking her children to school, she is currently building a big house at her homestead from the grocery store income.
She is also is planning to grow bigger in her business despite the economic challenges in the country and to expand her business to other areas in Lupane.