Impoverished Tanzanian women, many widowed or elderly, raise multiple orphaned children. Women are provided education and guidance necessary to create a sustained successful livelihood and hope for a better future, with added opportunities in the HHF Microloan Program.
In Tanzania HHF operates a Womens Business Program with 55 women and local leaders. Founded in 2011 by Loree Bolin (HHF founder) the program has been part of a holistic approach to improving lives of widows. For most women the status of widow has been achieved by HIV/AIDS, malaria, trauma or desertion, and they are left with little effective means for livelihood and struggling to survive. They raise orphaned grandchildren, extended family, and orphans who just need a home. Rock crashing, creating small bits of rock by hitting rocks together by hand, was one of the very few ways to earn cash. It is physically demanding work with a high injury rate. Focusing on traditional women’s occupations, the HHF program is centered on sewing skills, cooking, poultry and egg businesses, as well as sales of grain, fruit, vegetables, fish, and soap. Each of these endeavors is built around cooperatives of small groups of women providing support, advice, re-investment money, and a means to a better life.
Tumaini Tailor School
Fact: Few can afford to purchase ready made clothes, nor do these offer local styles. Sewing is a valuable skill for both women and men to provide a good living. Electricity is not available so the treadle sewing machine is used.
HHF Tumaini Tailor School teaches sewing skills to orphans and women. Each student tailor is provided his or her own personal sewing kit. The School teaches machine sewing skills on treadle machines. Tailored garments are made in local styles at affordable rates. School uniforms are a second key product to provide lower cost school attire to needy students. The students take in mending to supplement their earnings and build their skills.
Fact: Disposable feminine hygiene pads are not available or affordable. This keeps girls and women in isolation, which can lead to a loss of 4 to 5 days of schooling each month.
Tumaini Tailor School is creating washable feminine hygiene pad kits using the Days for Girls design. Girls traditionally miss 4 to 5 days of school monthly due to cultural restrictions. This program, working hand-in-hand with our At-Home Volunteer Program, which is a Days for Girls Chapter, supplies pre-cut and completed kits for distribution to girls and women in Tanzania. Our Tanzanian ladies have become ambassadors speaking with other local women and in schools to provide education and support to girls on use of the pads, personal hygiene and sexual safely.
Cooking and Food Cooperatives
Solar Cook-it ovens from Solar Cookers International as well as local cooking utensils are used to produce local food products for sale. HHF has worked with the women’s cooking collaborative to make unique products such as traditional vitumbula with fruit or savory fills, as well as diversifying businesses to include poultry, fruit, vegetable, grains, fresh and dried fish sales.
By combining buying power and sharing prime retail spots these women are building a thriving business.
Rock Crashers and Charcoal Sales
Initially the majority of women were “Rock Crashers”, breaking large rocks into gravel for local construction projects. This is very strenuous work paying $1.50 per day. A small group of women have continued this work with HHF safety equipment (safely glasses, mask, gloves) provided. Productivity has increased as rock groups are able to buy rock in bulk and hire young men to do the most strenuous part of the labor. Women who were working solo in charcoal business are now enjoying greater profitability and incomes by joining forces into a cooperative.
Poultry and Eggs cooperative
With subsidies to build hen houses, buy better feed, and vaccinate, a number of women are building good businesses in selling eggs,chickens, and ducks. The better feed leads to better eggs which command premium prices.
We actively promote all means to continue, support, and explore the traditional arts of beautiful hand weaving, hand formed pottery fired by wood fire kiln, as well as women’s traditional arts as educators and community leaders. Beautifully hand made traditional pottery is available for sale by contacting HHF.
How can you help?
Help these women help themselves by contribute by offering business development capitol. Provide cut or sewn feminine hygiene pad kits and supplies for them to sew and sell. Order a beautiful piece of pottery…or come work on a HHF Trip and work with the artists to make your own. Learn more and donate.