Ladies training at Mabinti Centre, by Sala Lewis
Happy International Women’s Day! Today, we come together to honor the strength, power and contributions of women all over the world.
I have been the Manager of The Mabinti Centre for the last 11 years. In that time, it has been my honor to witness the courage and resilience of the women we serve as they overcame the devastation of obstetric fistula. Our vocational training course empowers women with the skills and confidence to start their own business and become financially independent. As they learn to sew, print, design and manage finances, they also forge new friendships and bravely tackle the trauma this preventable, treatable disability leaves behind. I am proud to walk with them on this journey, and to watch each class graduate with confidence and the tools and knowledge to start afresh.
For our trainees and graduates, this training means a future filled with hope, instead of worry.
When one of our graduates, Janiah, went into labor, the doctors saw her baby was in distress and delivered her baby via Caesarean section. After leaving the hospital Janiah began leaking urine. Her doctors told there had been a complication with the C-section that left her with an obstetric fistula. “I had never heard of [fistula]. I was in shock,” she said. “It was difficult to accept that this had happened.”
After being referred to CCBRT for free fistula treatment, Janiah heard about a place where former CCBRT fistula patients could go to learn crafting, business and other life skills: The Mabinti Centre. She was accepted into our program, and learned sewing, batik, beading, crochet, and entrepreneurship with sessions on budgeting, communications, and marketing. Janiah graduated with the necessary skills to launch her own business a year later.
She soon started to sell her products in her neighborhood and around Dar es Salaam, crediting her Mabinti training as inspiration for the new business venture. Janiah said with confidence “I don’t have a worry. If my husband is gone, I can support my family.”
After her graduation, Janiah went back to the fistula ward to speak with new patients. She told them, “I was like you, and one day you’ll be like me. Everyone who goes to CCBRT will be okay”.
Since 2007, we have trained over 100 women like Janiah, each with their own story and their own challenges. Almost 75% of graduates now run their own business or have a job in the industry. Together, we have transformed The Mabinti Centre into a thriving social business.
This International Women’s Day, join me in celebrating the success of the women who have graduated from our program over the years, and show your support for the women who will follow them. We are set to welcome our next class of trainees this April: a new group of women looking to rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship.
Thanks to our friends at GlobalGiving, every donation up to $250 made through our GlobalGiving project today will receive a 30% match while funds last.* Your donations will help us to train these women as we build up their confidence and skills in a supportive, safe environment.
We hope you will stand with us by making a donation today, and sharing the campaign with your friends and family.
Asanteni sana (thank you very much),
Manager, The Mabinti Centre