Self-determined pursuit of one's dreams and independently earning a living – this should become true for a large number of socially disadvantaged young women thanks to our planned tailoring school in Arusha.
In most Maasai communities in northern Tanzania, educational opportunities for children are inadequate and thus hardly allow the society to escape from poverty and dependence on others. People from other tribes perform most professions which require schooling such as nurse, mechanic or tailor.
Due to the patriarchal social system of the Maasai, girls in particular hardly have any chances to realize their professional potential and thus to come up for their own independent living. This makes them vulnerable to negative and hurtful practices within the Maasai community (e.g. female circumcision, domestic violence and forced marriage).
Spielende Kinder vor einer Lehmhütte
Mädchen Namayan beim Hüten junger Schafe
Based on the challenges described in the project region, we have developed the project 'Shule kwa Ushonaji wa Engoitoi Epuan' (translated: Tailoring School Engoitoi Epuan). The tailoring school for girls from the age of 15 is a future vision of our association, which we plan to put into action at the end of 2022.
With the implementation of our tailoring school "Shule kwa Ushonaji wa Engoitoi Epuan" we aim to achieve the following 3 goals:
• Economic opportunities:
A high level tailoring education and a secure start into working independently will empower the women to earn a sustainable livelihood
• Mental health:
Creating a protected environment for young women, where they feel safe and where their concerns and needs are taken seriously
• Self-confidence & self-determination:
Empowerment to be able to determine one's own future by one's own efforts and independently from others and hence realizing one's own desires
As most of the project participants will be commuting from the countryside, a boarding school will be set up in a suitable house surrounded by a garden. The training programme will last 1 year and is divided into 2 blocks of 6 months each. The table on the left shows the planned activities and the goals intended to be reached by the projects participants.
Together with the two future main teachers we are currently designing and producing clothes and accessories from African wax fabric. In the future, these fabric items will be fashioned by the program participants themselves in the 2nd block. The proceeds from the sale of these products should allow the graduates to generate a start-up capital to build up their own business.
In order to find suitable program participants, we have entered a cooperation with Pastoral Women's Council for this project. This organization has been successfully working with and for Maasai girls and women in northern Tanzania since 1997. Through the various projects that PWC initiates and implements, the organisation establishes manifold contacts to girls and young women, who could fit into our program. These are girls who completed elementary school, but then had to drop out of middle school for financial or family reasons (pregnancy or forced marriage). Some of these girls also disobeyed their parents by not marrying the man they had chosen for them.
I am very much looking forward to working as a teacher in the school of Engoitoi Epuan. It is a wonderful prospect to pass on my knowledge to young women and to accompany them on their path of life.
- Mama Suzi, future Teacher
We are convinced that education is one of the keys to empowering Maasai girls and women. In particular, learning a profession raises their status within the community and enables them to take care of themselves. Custom-made clothing is in great demand locally, which is why the tailoring training will give the women a good chance to continuously earn their own income. As a result, they are better at resisting hurtful and other-directed practices while preserving, promoting and enjoying the positive aspects of their culture.
Upon a successful graduation the program participants and their family members, especially their children, will also profit. In addition, this project has a pioneering function in fostering the equality of men and women within Maasai society.
Currently, our fabric goods are fabricated by the two future main teachers Mama Suzi and Johari with their teams. During elaboration and sale we are able to gain valuable first experience. In the project implementation, these colourful and lively tailoring products will be made by the graduates themselves.