Empowering Women: Tanzania provides artisanal training to marginalized young women
Dar es Salaam may be one of the world's fastest growing cities but there's a shortage of jobs, especially for women. According to a World Bank report, women in Tanzania make up the larger share of the working age population, but a smaller share of the economically active population. Many are driven into a life of poverty and exploitation. One training center is now trying to break that cycle by offering skills empowering underprivileged young women in the city. CGTN's Daniel Kijo has more.
In this workshop in Tanzania's commercial city, these young women are not only transforming pieces of fabric, but also their lives.
They're learning business and handicraft skills at Sifa Threads, an organization determined to help turn lives around.
Cecilia, like many young Tanzanians, was forced to drop out of school- despite having dreams of becoming a doctor.
CECILIA JULIUS STUDENT, SIFA THREADS "I had to stay at home because my parents didn't have money. So I stayed idle at home."
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, some 40 percent of Tanzanian teenagers have dropped out of school- the majority of whom are girls.
The founders of Sifa Threads in wanting to help orphans in the city discovered they could support young women by giving them life-changing skills.
SHANTELLE BRUTSMAN CO-FOUNDER, SIFA THREADS "We realized that oh the way we can be more helpful in this community is to help young women and to almost do preventative care for children that may become orphans."
Fifty students have graduated from Sifa Threads, some have returned as interns at the centre and others have opened their own businesses. Currently a new batch of 20 students has just begun training. Keeping groups small ensures that each woman receives dedicated training.
DANIEL KIJO DAR ES SALAAM, TANZANIA "Something as small as a needle and thread, can change the course of someone's life. In a country where a formal education can be hard to access, just having skills like these, can impact a whole generation."
Facing acute and growing demand for training, the founders of Sifa Threads are now supporting graduates to open their own training centers across the city.
Cecilia hasn't given up on her dreams.
CECILIA JULIUS STUDENT SIFA THREADS "I hope that when I leave here, I won't depend on my family or anyone else. I won't be a dependant. I hope to do something big, so I can also help others."
Skills taught at the centre include tye-dyeing fabrics, screen printing, tailoring and leather crafts. This knowledge has allowed graduates to design and create products that they now sell. As their sales increase, they feel they're moving closer to creating a life they can be proud of. Daniel Kijo, CGTN, Dar es salaam, Tanzania.