Matoushaya conquers cultural barriers

12 Sep, 2021 - 00:09 0 Views
Matoushaya conquers cultural barriers

The Sunday Mail

Enacy mapakame

Being the first born in her family, leadership and breaking records was an inborn thing and her grandmother had every reason to brag.

She was the pride of the village after becoming the first girl in the entire village in Hwedza to proceed to Form One in the early 1970s.

This was not a mean achievement for a girl as most dropped in primary school but Obertina (Tina) Matoushaya’s story was different from the rest of the girls in the village.

Mrs Matoushaya refused to succumb to societal norms and gender stereotypes and has risen to become among others a farmer and a distributor of cosmetic products.

Recently, she was made president of the Rotary Club of Highlands, a role that will help her mould more future leaders and expand the Club’s focus areas, which are peace building and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education, community economic development as well as supporting the environment.

She joined the Rotary in November 2016.

“As president of Rotary Club of Highlands I want to leave my mark especially in our communities. I want people to remember the Rotary year 2021/2022 as the year of achievements.

“I will achieve this because I am standing on the shoulders of giants. We refer ourselves as the Club of Giants due to the excellent leaders who have led the Club since its inception and the teamwork which prevails in the club. Failure is not an option,” she said by email.

As the new president of the Rotary Club of Highlands, she has already lined up projects for the course of the coming year.

Some of the projects include reaching out to communities through the current two global grant funded projects Musingwa School, Mabvuku Water Project and Melfort Old People’s Home as well as resourcing schools in communities by book handouts, payment of fees and medical books handouts to mission hospitals.

With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mrs Matoushaya indicated the need to scale up projects that empower the girl child and women to cushion them from the adverse economic effects of the pandemic.

Most women entrepreneurs in the informal sector have lost businesses due to restricted movements and supply chain disruptions therefore resulting in reduced income while the pandemic has also increased unpaid care work for women.

“We will do all we can to mitigate Covid-19 effects in our communities, needy communities are still out there and will not cease to exist because there is Covid-19, hunger will not cease because there is Covid-19 and young leaders need to be developed.

‘‘We will continue to develop the leaders of tomorrow through the Rotaract and Interact programmes.

“In actual fact life has to go on despite Covid-19 and other calamities, we will turn the negative effects of Covid-19 into opportunities,” she said.

Mrs Matoushaya, however, emphasises the need to embrace team work, confidence, hard work, patience, persistence as well as determination. Her story from an early age is an example of determination, she did not let go of her dreams.

Growing up in rural Hwedza — where she was born — most girls were required to help their mothers with household chores but Mrs Matoushaya was determined to get an education and proceeded to Kriste Mambo College in Rusape, which was a record achievement for a girl in her entire community.

That was not the only record she broke in her journey to acquire education.

She said: “Tina has broken a few records in her time but the real first one which she will never forget is becoming top of the three Sub A classes at Mt St Mary’s.

‘‘I remember the boy who came second refusing to stand up because he had been beaten by a girl. Imagine rivalry at that early age that is why it’s unforgettable because it caused quite a commotion.”

Through hard work and determination, the mother of six juggled through family life and studies and proceeded to do an Executive Secretarial course, an intermediate diploma in Human Resources Management, qualified as a Chartered Secretary and a holder of an MBA at the same time.

In her professional career, she has worked for the University of Zimbabwe for 28 years as well as Parish Administrator for the St Gerards Parish among others.

Currently, she is doing a Bachelor of Theology Honours degree which in her Church was always open for Priests and the Clergy but have been now opened to the lay people and Mrs Matoushaya among the pilot group.


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