In 2011 I decided to leave the work that I was doing to start what makes my heart sing and below is the dream :
The Tashinga WomenTrust:
‘’Connecting Women through Healing and Learning’’
The Tashinga Women Trust was established in 2011 as an apolitical, independent, economic empowerment organization for women. “Tashinga” is a Shona word that means “perseverance.”
The Trust was co-created as a response to the challenges and obstacles that African women face. In the African context, some women’s rights are not respected. They are given the last opportunity for education and for leadership roles; yet they are the ones to make things happen within their communities. They work hard for the health of their families; they work hard for access to education for their children; they work hard to feed their families. These acts of courage and perseverance must be broadly acknowledged.
In Africa, women suffer inequality before the law in relation to familial authority and access to inheritance. Acts of sexual violence, political violence, economic violence, and physical and domestic violence are committed with complete impunity. Conservative patriarchal customs has caused tribal cultures to marginalize girls’ education by placing them at the bottom of the list of priorities. An African woman is considered the property of her husband; she has no voice in decision making for the household and is required to remain completely submissive and dependent on her husband for survival. Failure to do so can lead to physical reprimand, neglect, abandonment, or being simply thrown out of the house.
Being acknowledged begins with the women themselves — touching each other’s lives, instilling a sense of pride and ownership as we heal, support and champion each other. The Tashinga Women Trust aims to provide such a space where women: come to know their equal human rights, gain equal access to education, feel encouraged to take an active part in realizing their potential. Claiming their rights and seeing with new eyes the vast opportunities available to them, they will be mobilized to make meaningful change. They will improve their own standard of living, and be able to support the potential of their children.
Being economic players, women will contribute significantly to the welfare of their communities and to the national economy. As they gain economic power, women will also emancipate themselves from economic abuses, and have capacity to acquire properties in their names (so that they have a say in the inheritance of such properties).
The Trust’s “Work” is to walk alongside these women and young girls in their quest: to identify their area of interest; to receive counselling support which will empower them to make significant progress in combating economic, verbal, and physical abuse; to learn from experts the skills necessary to effectively implement their chosen Work; to become part of networks which support the acquisition of resources.
As Zimbabwe is currently drafting a new Constitution, we encourage women to participate in this process and to highlight areas where they feel their rights are inadequately protected. These may include issues to do with rape, property rights, rights to participate in political activities and in political parties of their choice, the right to decision making.
Participation may also be one of advocacy — for 50-50 representation in parliament, for policies that focus on women’s issues and that advance the rights of the girl child. We advocate for our own land; we advocate for space and for power to make decisions that impact our lives, our families, and our nation.
Women should be pivotal in both reinstating and reshaping value systems which have been left in the hands of law court systems. Politics have controlled our everyday lives; we encourage women to educate their children to desist from political violence and to practice tolerance. In the end, political violence affects women and the girl child more than their male counterparts. Women can educate the nation and change the mindset of the political landscape.
Founder, The Tashinga Women Trust