Mama Aisha is a gifted seamstress and doll maker. Disabled as a young child from Polio, Mama Aisha struggled with feeling helpless and dependent on others throughout her life. Now she has found empowerment, purposeful work, and a loving community in an organization that employs deaf and disabled artisans in rural Tanzania.
When Mama Fundi began working with a beadwork co-operative for women artisans in Arusha, Tanzania, she loved it and proved to be successful in it, even training other women who joined the organization. Since then, Mama Fundi has been able to feed her family and pay school fees for her children. Her biggest dream is for all six of her children to complete their studies.
Danford, a woodworker in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has been with an organization that works with exclusively recycled and discarded materials for eight years. This married father of three (with two in school) loves his job and is interested in dhow wood from discarded dhow boats, which are traditional dugout canoes used for fishing and transportation along the East African coast, and other products. His job allows him to save for the future, send his children to school, and provide for his family.
When her family was displaced by the Rwandan Genocide, Shimirimana lost everything. She joined other women in a co-operative in a remote village in Tanzania, where she now uses her traditional basket-weaving skills to provide for her family. This steady income has allowed Shimirimana to put her children through school and purchase a plot of land in a region where women's ownership of property is uncommon. She is able to grow crops for food and additional income, and rents sections out to other women who grow crops for their families. Shimirimana has a sense of home and the immense respect from her community.
A few years ago, Roida joined an organization in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that employs women recovering from painful and stigmatizing fistula complications. After finishing the training program, she was hired full-time and became apprenticed to Claudi, the organization's master screen printer. Roida also has hearing trouble, so Claudi learned Swahili Sign Language and is currently teaching Roida so that she is better able to communicate. She loves her work and the loving community of women artisans. Roida came from a community that ostracized her for her medical issues, but everyone here understands and accepts her, and everyone is her friend. With her income, she can support herself and her two brothers.