HIH changes widow’s narrative 

Jeniffer Kabete is a 65-year old widow who stays at Donga Business Centre in ward 10, 26 km south-east of the scenic Shurugwi.

Like most people of her generation, Jenifer – who looks after six grandchildren, three of them are school going and three infants – has endured a difficult life in Zimbabwe and she has scars to show for it. Life is difficult in this part of the world to the extent that citizens are struggling to provide food. The situation gets worse among women-headed household.

The friendly granny, who is a member of the Batanai SHG which consist of 10 members, seven females and three males, says she was once trapped in chain of poverty working hard in trying to make things happen in the red zone area of Shurugwi. Shurugwi is in region 5 which is characterised with little and below normal rainfall and droughts are frequent in the area.

Mining is only profitable business in this dry area, but then it is capital intensive and also requires physical stamina, attributes which are all not on Jennifer’s side. For an ordinary tailor, who conducted her business at Chachacha growth point, Jennifer had lost all hope about the future.

However, her fortunes quickly changed in 2015 when Hand in Hand Zimbabwe made inroads into Shurugwi and Jennifer did not think twice about joining Batanai SHG, which by then had 10 female members.

Over the years, Hand in Hand has proved that it has a master key to unlock hidden treasures. After going through HiH’s 6 modular trainings on business enterprise development, Jennifer’s eyes were opened and her horizon widened.

Jennifer’s group contributes $50 per month and members pay a 20 percent interest when they borrow money from the fund. This money is only used to finance their individual’s business/ enterprise since the group does not have a group enterprise.

The group, through its policy and constitution, agreed to share the dividends after every six months that means per year they have two cycles.  On average every member walks with around $450-500 after sharing.

With trainings on Manage Money and Opportunity Identification Enterprise Planning, Jennifer got the skills to diversify her business and ventured into school uniforms making. After realizing some profits from her new business, she constructed her on shop at the busy growth point, which was completed in January 2019 and is now operational.

“Hand in Hand Zimbabwe helped me a lot to be who I am today. The trainings were not only fantastic but also an eye opener as they unlocked potential in me, potential which I never thought I had,” she said in an interview.

Jennifer further alluded that before joining Hand in Hand she “was unable to provide food for the children that I have, but now I am able to feed my grandchildren, as well as employing other women from the community. As we speak my business has created three more jobs, and this means the business is supporting three families.”

Jennifer’s is now a role model among other widows in her community as she can now afford to pay school fees for her three grandchildren – one in secondary school paying $55-00 per term and the other two at primary level paying $20 each per term, which was an uphill task prior to meeting Hand in Hand.

In addition to that, her shop is now well equipped with standard equipment such as four sewing machines including the overlocking and heavy duty machines.

Jennifer’s business has grown in leaps and bounds and is popular in Shurugwi that every new school term she rakes in an average of $200 from uniform sales and when business is low she earns around $30 per week.

During the course of the interview, Jennifer made it clear that she want to continue to be part of the Hand in Hand family as it made her to be a recognised woman in community after unlocking her hidden treasure.

“I also want to thank my colleagues at Batanai Self Help Group who keep on encouraging me to go an extra mile in my work. I believe that with the help of God my business is going to expand and help so many women in various communities. The almighty has been very gracious to me,” she said.