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“I wanted to enroll in the Women for Women program after I heard an announcement made in church. I wanted to learn how to calculate profits and losses, and how to better manage my business.” The trainings have helped Unis achieve both of these. “Now I can calculate my profits, and follow all the money for goods taken on credit. I saved $200 with a goal of building a permanent house, but one of my sons damaged someone’s motorcycle. I had to use the money to repair it for the owner, but I am still confident that I will save more and build a better house for myself and my family.”
Unis was unexpectedly affected and empowered by the trainings on women’s rights and health. “I learned that women have rights and that it is wrong for them to face violence. I also learned that as women we need to be there for one another in addressing these wrongs. I decided to take action by realizing my role in advocating for other people in society. I have therefore taken the opportunity to influence my immediate community.
“First, there is a man in the neighborhood who used to beat his wife. He would often come home drunk and beat and shout at his wife. I have learned that despite any misunderstandings there may be in the home, violence against women is wrong. One morning, I decided to visit my neighbors and give them some counseling. I told the man, ‘you can drink, but do not fight. And if the alcohol is too much for you, please drink half, or stop drinking alcohol.’
After talking for some time, the man agreed to work on making some changes. “I helped the couple realize how the violence was affecting them and their children. Eventually the man thanked me and said he was happy for my guidance. He said he would try to reduce his alcohol intake for the sake of his family. Two months later I am yet to hear any noise or fighting from them, and I believe that he has changed.”
The second change that Unis made was in her own family. “My son used to smoke opium with his friends and had dropped out of school. After learning about psychological health and counseling, I changed my approach in talking to him about it. This proved to be very successful: he stopped smoking opium, and he now wants to go back to school.”
Unis also took action in advocating for an orphaned girl living with her neighbor. “She was sent home from school because her tuition was not paid. I decided to go to the school and explain the girl’s situation to the headmaster. He was touched when I explained the plight of the girl and how important it is for girls to get an education despite the challenges they face. She is now back in school, learning, without having to pay school fees.”
Unis has taken what she learned in the program and translated it into very real changes within and around her. “I am happy for the trainings from Women for Women International. I feel that I am now making some small changes in my community. And I can now write numbers and speak in front of people, which I was very shy about before the training. I recommend this training to all women in Yei.”
The photo accompanying this article features a Women for Women graduate, however, for privacy or security concerns, it is not an image of the woman described in the article.