Meet Rukia, who is 34 years old and lives in Kangaye, a suburban area of Mwanza, the second largest city in Tanzania.
Rukia is a single mother and lives with her 13-year-old daughter Nurfat and her two sons Nuhu and Abdalah, who are 7 and 2. Before she was introduced to our programmes, Rukia was working as a hairdresser. Earning a small commission per job, she struggled to care for her children and sustain their needs.
Persistent gender gaps in Tanzania mean that many women like Rukia face greater challenges in accessing permanent employment, salary-based jobs, home and land ownership, and financial services than men. These issues make achieving a sustainable livelihood very difficult.
She explains: “My life was very difficult because I was stressed and my children were malnourished because of hunger. Most of the time I would go to sleep without eating or sometimes eating only once a day.
“I was being chased out of the house by the landlord because I couldn’t afford the rent, and I couldn’t even take my children to school because I had no money to buy their uniforms and school materials.”
In 2021, Nurfat ran away from home and ended up living on the streets. During this time, she came into contact with staff from a Day Care Centre that we run alongside our partner in Mwanza, Cheka Sana, who assisted her to return home.
Day Care Centres are an important part of our Street Work Programme as they support children living on the streets to access counselling, healthcare and hygiene, and help younger children to return home to their families.
Whilst re-building the relationship between Rukia and her daughter, our colleagues at the Day Care Centre learnt more about Rukia’s difficult situation and supported her to join a local savings and loans group through our Village Investors Programme (VIP).
“I joined the group in March 2021, and I started to learn about the savings and loans process. Initially, I took a loan of Tshs 50,000/= (£17.50) and I started a business selling fish. With time, the business grew and now my capital is 450,000/= (£157.50) which has meant I can feed my children three meals a day and ensure they are all back attending school.”
Rukia is one of 16 members of the Neema Nyakato VIP Group in Mwanza, who have collectively saved almost £1,750 in their first year with the programme, and supported 48 children in their community including 15 children who are orphans.
Our data on the Neema Nyakato VIP Group in Mwanza.
“Saving in the group has enabled me to buy land and start construction on a new home. I can now say that I see hope in my life.”
We’re so proud that 81% of the parents and guardians training on the VIP this year are women like Rukia.
By supporting women to build their capital and launch their own businesses, the programme is empowering as it enables them to access resources like livestock, land and property that would be traditionally owned by men, and make decisions about their futures.
It costs just £10 for a parent or guardian like Rukia to train in community banking and business skills for a year. Please consider making a donation here.