In the Republic of Congo, women are using sports betting to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the case of Geordine Bikindou based in Pointe-Noire, the commercial city of this Central African nation. Having gone bankrupt in trading bananas, Geordine took up betting. Thanks to a friend's advice and it's going well.
''I thought I could do something else. And I have a sister who plays sports betting who advised me to play as well. And the first time I played, I won an 89 euro ticket and since that day I've had a nack for it'', she told our Erika Jocia Macket.
The single mother of one, Geordine, an unemployed pharmacy graduate, has an ambition to operate her own pharmacy.
Charlène Matongo, another bettor has also succeeded to relaunch the business, having bet one day for just 0.92 cents. Today, her situation is better than before.
''This game helps me a lot in these times of pandemic. In spite of the difficult situation, I had taken the risk of betting 0.92 cents and I had won 230 euros. This money enabled me to advance my work and to make some provisions", Charlene said.
But in Congolese society where sports betting is dominated by men, women here have to deal with preconceived ideas, and to some extent ridicule.
''I am not ashamed of what I do. On the contrary, I am proud to play among men and I encourage other women to do so'', she added.
Reporting from Pointe Noire, Erika Jocia Macket noted that ''In these times of health crisis, sports betting has become a real activity for the benefit of all social classes. While some women take responsibility for themselves, others prefer to bet in secret away from prejudices.''
According to a recent survey, women currently make up 15% of registered bettors in Congo.