LIFE will never be the same again for Sibhekinkosi Masiyandima, a mother of two, after she was empowered by a local organisation to successfully start and run her own business.
By Mthandazo Nyoni
“I was just a human being, a housewife, highly dependent on my husband for support and thought it was good. However, the coming in of Working Girl (WG) Foundation changed my life,” she said, with a wide grin lighting up her face.
Masiyandima was a typical house wife — caring for her children; cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods for everyday family upkeep; housekeeping, cleaning and maintaining the home.
But all that changed after she had an encounter with WG Foundation, a social and economic justice organisation, dedicated to empowering women and the girl child to become active participants in economic development in their communities and the world at large.
This is done through training programmes aimed at helping women realise their potential, dream big and desire to be the next billionaires.
“After my training, I have managed to open two businesses — fashion designing and herb gardening. My fashion designing business is trading under the name Destined Designs. Can you imagine? With what I’m making, I am able to fend for my family,” she said.
Masiyandima said her husband, who is also working, was very supportive of her businesses.
“It’s quite an unusual experience when you are taken from a place where you think you cannot do anything and placed somewhere, where you can see life from another dimension,” she said.
WG Foundation director and founder, Nomalanga Ncube, said their aim is to empower women and girl children to be able to start and run their own successful businesses in economic sectors of their choice, in order to move from poverty to success.
“We go to the various wards in Bulawayo suburbs and train women on how to start their own successful businesses. My belief is that everyone has got a right to be wealthy and happy,” Ncube said.
Every year, WG Foundation also runs a programme targeting young girls under the age of 25.
“We pick 40 young girls and train them on how to start successful businesses and then we pair them with mentors, who are already successful in business to help them. Some of the young women with innovative projects will be financially assisted by their mentors to kick-start their businesses,” she said.
Ncube added that they have worked with several women in various wards in Bulawayo since 2018.
“We have done 10 wards so far and we have trained an average of 40 women in each of those trainings. In doing this, we work with residents associations. By year-end, I wish to have done the 29 wards. So in each ward, we will be training 30 to 40 women. We have already done 10, so we are left with 19 wards,” Ncube said.
She further noted that the main challenge they were facing in their endeavour was mindset “because most women in their brains have been mismanaged with great skill by what they see, they hear and what they have been told”.
“They have been told lies probably from birth that they cannot be successful. So, we are now trying to change that mindset, trying to move their mindset from a mindset of lack, to a mindset of believing in themselves that they can actually succeed,” she said.
In Zimbabwe, women constitute at least 51% of the total population, according to the World Bank, while young people make up for 62%.
As such, investing in young people and women will help grow sustainable economies.
According to United Nations Women, women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes.
The global organisation also notes that companies greatly benefit from increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organisational effectiveness and growth.
It is estimated that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organisational performance.
“I am empowered and will never be the same again. We wish government and non-governmental organisations invested more into young women for economic development,” Masiyandima said.