Winnie: A shining example of an empowered woman
Winnie Chari is a beacon of excellence.
“The death of a man in a family signals’ trouble and calamity”, this African proverb highlights the plight of widows who are not empowered in most parts of patriarchal Africa. Winnie Chari a 67-year-old widow defied this norm through leading a viable, self-sustaining business which has great returns in Domboshava, Mashonaland East Province in Zimbabwe. In spite of her hearing disability, staying alone, being a widow and her old age, she vehemently refused to let all these defeatist factors pull her down.
Turning every negative as a positive she insists that, “Old age means wisdom…women alone have all it takes to make it and be successful business people”
Zimbabwe has been experiencing inclement economic collapse for the past couple of decades. Life for the girl child and women is heavily affected due to their social and economic marginalization. Winnie reiterates how life was difficult and stressful before she started the poultry project. “Staying alone and being a widow was really tough, I had nothing to do productively and lots of stressful issues on my mind”.
The coming in of Help and Partners for Integrated Growth and Development (pigad) heralded a new dawn of a new era. Ernestly she joined the poultry project received training and was capacitated in poultry farming. She received a poultry business startup consisting of 30 point of laying (POL) birds, building material and feeds in November 2015 and her life has never been the same since then, she has been buying 100 layers birds per year since she started the poultry farming. Her story is a story of hard work, commitment, and financial discipline.
“Financial record keeping and support services from pigad has led to the success and growth of my empire, this has transformed my life as you can see [pointing at her recently painted house and fowl runs]…poverty is out of bounds here” reiterated Winnie with a broad smile beaming fulfillment.
The small-holder farmer has also diversified into broiler farming and boasts with a flock of 304 layer birds and 130 broiler chickens. Winnie picks up 180 eggs/ day from 198 active laying birds, monthly she picks approximately 5400 eggs which she sells at $8/crate of 30 eggs. The gross monthly revenue from the egg business is approximately $ 540, and her broiler birds sell at $ 5/ bird.
Winnie’s greatest strength is her ability to turn every challenge into an avenue of potential to expand her business. Due to the dwindling egg market locally, Winnie has established a ready market in Kariba, which is approximately 400km away from her homestead. She has also embarked on sunflower seed production to supplement the chicken feeds as a coping strategy against the ongoing chicken feeds price hikes.
Winnie is a happy widow who did not let the puling factors deter her from pursuing her business dream, she asserts that “I am no longer getting old, but younger, I am now a sweet sixteen because of my business, and I believe every woman can do it”. Indeed she is a beacon of excellence as depicted by her neat, clean, solar-powered household, all these are by-products of an excellently run business.