June 2020 is the Female Wave of Change Story telling month: Stories matter and we want you to share yours! Today Wavemaker Female Wave of Change in Zimbabwe shares her story of the new doors that openened after her retrenchment.
Retrenchment: The Opportunity to Life’s Open Doors
Retrenchment is an opportunity to life’s open doors for a woman who was retrenched from a very high paying job. On the last weekend of her final days at work in January 2011, her husband suffers a chronic illness and the father in-law dies, to start the nightmare of her life. Advice to start microfinance operations from the retrenchment package yielded. Fruits. Every challenge that one faces in life has a window of opportunity depending on the way you view and handle the challenge.
“I was having a comfortable life in my middle manager role at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with great benefits for a stable life style in my country Zimbabwe. Life was okay and I never dreamt of a change.
My retrenchment letter came on the 28th of January 2011 and the 31st of January 2011 was my last day of work. I had a very loving and caring father-in law who supported me. On the last Saturday of January 2011, my husband was admitted in hospital diagnosed that his Haemoglobin level was too low and was admitted to hospital: a series of tests started to be conducted. I had never experienced such a level of illness on a loved one before and every three to four days my husband would be transfused with new blood. This was a terrible disease and the tests were not giving clear results.
31 January 2011, my precious job ends and I am now home, applying to as many organizations as possible. This is one of the biggest challenges to lose a high paying job. I was now managing two big challenges of a critically sick husband and that of joblessness.
Spiritual and family support is very important to manage life challenges.
Spiritual and family support is very important to manage life challenges. I did not stop attending the ladies Tuesday Prayer Meetings at our church and these played a key role in helping me to deal with the challenges. The Spiritual foundations that we were taught at St Davids Girls High-Bonda during Scripture Union, Assembly, Church Services, and by dear mother strengthened my prayer life and personal devotions which gave me strength during these life challenges.
After some weeks in hospital my husband was discharged as the doctors could not find a local solution for him at the time and he was referred to South Africa. Medical aid was getting exhausted. Family support was instrumental in managing nursing of a very sick husband at home. Thanks to the Mutsopotsi and Shumbambiri families for their love and support during the trying times. My mother Chipo Priscilla Mutsopotsi gave so much great support and a strong spiritual backing. On Monday 14 February 2011, my father in law was at our house to discuss the travel arrangements to South Africa and he was pledging that he would drive my husband to South Africa for treatment. The Bible says that God’s ways are not our ways…. We did not know that this was the last time to see each other with our father: On 16 February 2011 my father-in-law passed away and was buried on 18th of February 2011.
This created new challenges of handling a bereaved mother-inlaw and other family members and at the same time nursing my critically ill husband and being jobless.
I managed to get financial support from a churchmate and a family friend for air travel for my husband. I had a 3 month old baby at the time and had to follow to South Africa by bus to be with my husband.
I left my other two children with my young sister Tarisai Mutsopotsi who took up the motherly role in my absence. So, I can say that family is very important in life and thanks to my young sisters for being there for me.
God took care of the hospital fees at Steve Biko Academic Hospital as one of the professors said that he was to take everything upon himself. We only paid R216 for all the over 6 months my husband was at that hospital. What kept me going when my husband was in South Africa were the Tuesday Ladies Prayer meetings and the spiritual support from pastors in South Africa.
Focus on Micro-Finance and starting my business
After my husband returned from South Africa, in 2012, having spent almost a year applying and being referred to jobs, I contacted my colleagues in Banking Supervision Department at The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to find out about Microfinance Institution registration procedures. So, I started researching a lot about microfinance and I did extensive study on Microfinance and through that God connected me with Experts from India and Zambia of which two of them managed to be on our Board of Directors.
In April 2012, I submitted the Microfinance application and in October 2012, the license was granted. In January 2013, I started the Microfinance operations under the name, Intelligent Business Consultancy.
In February 2013, I was referred for an ITC/ILO microfinance management training by our Zambian board member and I attended for two weeks. God made a divine connection for me at that workshop and it is through this workshop that opened the door for me to be a Microfinance Management trainer. In this role, another door to be a Financial education trainer also opened up and these opportunities have accorded Intelligent Business Consultancy more skills and the company will be a nationally sort after firm. The Financial Education door has opened doors for me to work on Financial Literacy Projects for International NGOs like FAO of the United Nations which has sharpened my consultancy and training skills.
Business also faces challenges, but determination and hardwork will see you through as our late school father Chidawanyika taught us. He said that a Bonda girl must shine wherever she is and this taught us to always aim for the best in life.
Through these entrepreneurial initiatives I have travelled to countries like Israel, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia and have trained locally and regionally in the Microfinance Industry and I believe many doors are still opening.
I lost a pillar of strenght when my mother passed
In 2020 as the year was starting, I lost my dear mother on the 5th of January which opened up another chapter of challenges in my life. My mother was a pillar of strength in my life as she is the one who stood by me and strengthened me through my many life challenges. The grieving period is still very painful for me. After the funeral I faced so many other family challenges, but God always sends Angels to help you go through these Challenges.
Female Wave of Change
Through Female Wave of Change that I was introduced to in 2019, I got a lot of support from founder Ingun Bol and other FWOC members. The Corona Virus pandemic also created its fair of challenges but I have managed to get support through FWOC meetings and meditation sessions. The connections are so phenominal. Also, through the Inspire Women Lead mentorship program that I was doing, I got support from my mentor and this has helped through the grieving journey. During these challenges, FWOC called me saying that they wanted to learn more about the work in Finance and the Household Empowerment Programs that I do. I have been interviewed by this Gobal Womens Organisation. So, challenges do open doors. In this pandemic period as well, I received a call from a Radio Presenter that she was interested in the work that I was doing and since 22 April 2020 I am now on Radio every Wednesday talking about Financial Education Matters, free of charge. It is something that I had always desired in our organization and had plans of approaching a radio station. But God works in ways we cannot see. My life challenges have taught me that there is no limit to what God can do and that challenges strengthen you and open new doors for you in life.”
Gladys gave Female Wave of Change permission to share her story