A fighter against the odds.

“Give me a challenge and I will tackle it with a laugh.”

I am Lethiwe Mathonsi, I live and grew up KwaKhoza Reserve. I am 28 years old. I am a hardworking and passionate person and very persistence because I have come from a very poor and bad background. At home we were used to finding work when you need something, because no one was going to give it to you. So we had to work to buy uniform and stationery. I learnt to be independent from a young age so that I will be able to live life.

My passion is to start my own business and to teach other young women to be also independent, and to teach them to do things with confidence, so they can be successful. I want to teach young women that they must hunger for knowledge and grab every opportunity.

Gender Links funding has helped me a lot- Firstly, I am so happy to get this opportunity. I would like to thank Gender Links funders very much for funding people like us, especially me. I was very hungry for knowledge on how to sow, in such a way that I have tried to get into fashion designing; however, I did not get the opportunity. I would even go around town approaching seamstresses to help teach me how to sow. Unfortunately, they did not agree to helping me out.

I then attended two workshops at Eshowe Child & Family Welfare Society on Gender Based Violence; this program was funded by gender links. During the workshops, we were taught how we as young women can be empowered to stand up for ourselves and not depend on men for financial assistance; more especially not stay in an abusive relationship. There after a small group of us were selected to start a skills development program. I was one of the first selected and I was so excited to learn that we will be doing sowing classes. Gender Links helped me a lot because now I know how to sow and because of this great opportunity, I now have a sowing machine and no longer buy clothes, I just sow.

My plans are to have a place where I can also teach skills to young people, so that they will open their own businesses and we can start to create opportunities for young people to accumulate generational wealth.