In Greek “Dorothy” means Gift from God.  That is exactly what Dorothy Mrema has been to Karama for the past 2+ years and to me personally for the past eight years.  I’m honored to write this post celebrating Dorothy as she approaches her last few weeks on staff with Karama.

I met Dorothy as a high school student in Dar es Salaam.  Even then, she shined with dreams and wasn’t afraid of challenges.  After graduating with a Political Science/International Relations Degree from St. Olaf College in Minnesota, Dorothy was eager to return to Tanzania to help the country that she loves so much. When she interviewed for Karama the board was struck by her passion and purpose for women and for Africa. As the newly hired Artisan Coordinator Dorothy was immediately adept to traveling the largest cities and the smallest villages to meet our creative partners and instill dignity through her encouraging relationship with them. 

Dorothy has been incredibly valuable to Karama and has kept the swirl of impact growing as she championed development, nurtured relationships, and has been a key player in continuing our mission to alleviate extreme poverty through creative work. Her focused professionalism is enhanced by her huge smile and effortless poise.  

Within these two years, Dorothy has developed as a strong woman leader who has implemented social media campaigns, organized biannual artisan markets, planned product orders through every stage including spec sheets, and traveled numerous times to visit artisans in five countries.  She has conducted surveys, handled payments and balanced accounting. She has designed, organized, researched, and spent countless hours managing product supply chain coming from all over Africa.  This position has required enormous multi-tasking; Dorothy made it look easy. 

During her time on staff with Karama, Dorothy had the opportunity to apply and be accepted as a prestigious Milead fellow in Ghana where a commitment to the development of Tanzania particularly in education grew. Only a couple of months ago she found herself at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City speaking on the UN Conference floor about her passion for education in Tanzania as well as her involvement in social impact through Karama. Most recently she applied and was accepted to both Harvard and Stanford’s Graduate programs in International Education Policy.

While Dorothy’s ambition for her country inspires me, it is her strong faith that speaks volumes about the desire of her heart to be in alignment with God’s plan for her life.  It doesn’t take a long conversation with Dorothy to realize that Psalm 37:23 is beautifully evident in her life as her ‘steps are ordered’ by her Heavenly Father who loves her passion for African women, her country, education and opportunities for leadership.  

Thank you for all you’ve done to alleviate extreme poverty in Africa through social enterprise.  Our swirl of good is a part of a huge movement towards more and more freedom in Africa and we couldn’t be more grateful for all you’ve done to grow it. I hope you have many more opportunities to join talented refugee women living in rural Africa in a dance of freedom throughout each ordered step you walk in Tanzania and beyond. Karama will miss you Dorothy.  I will miss you. You’ve been a Gift from God.