Domitille’s laugh can be heard cascading over the hills and echoing through the trees that surround the Hope cooperative, the knitting association of which she is the president. A graceful and self-assured woman, her vibrant smile is nothing short of contagious and her positive energy radiates throughout every room she enters.
While today Domitille is a pillar of confidence and strength, she was not always this way. In fact, her journey to get here was arduous and beset with significant obstacles to overcome.
Only a few years ago, Domitille’s economic circumstances were dire: her family lacked permanent housing, often went hungry, and owned just one piece of clothing each. Her husband was violent and beat her daily, forbidding her to leave the house without his permission, and isolating her from the other women in her community.
However, when her cooperative began partnering with Indego Africa in 2010, her income started to increase. She soon found herself able to buy a house with electricity, feed and clothe her family, send her son to school, and even set aside enough money to invest in a new business of her own.
In her words: “my life really and fully changed . . . I am now a well-to-do woman, with middle income. I can eat what I want, wear what I want. I am confident, independent, and self-sufficient. I think back to what I was like only a few years ago and I do not recognize myself. And that is a good thing.”
Domitille’s economic success engendered newfound confidence and she began to think hopefully about her future. At home, she started to challenge her husband’s control over the household and to call the police whenever he tried to beat her.
Today, her husband’s abuse has stopped and Domitille has become an informal counselor to other women who suffer from domestic violence. She is a respected leader and a powerful role model to the women and girls in her community.