Artisans

Click. to meet her

OUR CREATORS. our strength

WomenCraft is changing the way that rural women can do business.

Meet our skilled artisans, who, despite living in one of the poorest parts of the world, are rising above poverty, raising stronger families, stimulating their local economies and inspiring the world around them.

Malnutrition, AIDS, illiteracy, and domestic violence are some of the challenges faced by our artisans and their families. Approximately 10% of our artisans are HlV-positive, but nearly all of our artisans support a family member who is HIV-positive, or an orphan of an AIDS victim.

We currently work with 300+ artisans in 24 WomenCraft groups in 17 villages in the tri-border area of Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda. The artisans are former refugee women – who fled genocide and conflict in their own countries, living for decades in Tanzanian refugee camps –  and their Tanzanian host community counterparts and neighbors.

DISCOVER. the world in which she lives

Socio-Economic Survey results.  67% of artisans were surveyed  from August 2010 – July 2011.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Income: The majority of WomenCraft artisans are subsistence farmers, and while some engage in other small business activities, 66% cite WomenCraft as their only source of cash income.
  • Nutrition: More artisans now consume two meals per day. Prior to WomenCraft, 46% of artisans ate just one meal per day throughout the year.  35% consume just one meal per day during “hungry periods.” The nutritional value of the meals is still in question.
  • Animal Ownership: The average artisan household has doubled the number of animals owned since joining WomenCraft, from 2 to 4. Increased animal ownership provides both economic and health benefits for artisans.
  • Clothing: On average, each artisan owned two kitenge and/or khanga (traditional clothing) before joining WomenCraft, compared to four at the time of the survey.
  • Medical issues: The typical artisan travels, usually by foot, 5 km to reach a dispensary and 25 km to reach a hospital; therefore, health issues and medical emergencies are more likely to go untreated. As many as 20% of artisans could be infected with the HIV virus. Approximately 78% of WomenCraft artisans had malaria at least once in the past year, and the average artisan has been seriously ill twice in the past 12 months.
  • Water-access: More than 60% of WomenCraft artisans use river water as their primary source of drinking water, which contributes to water borne illnesses and to reporting diarrhea as one of the most common health problems when surveyed. On average, an artisan walks 2.4 km to reach her nearest water source.

Use of money from WomenCraft:

  • Food items – 83%
  • Clothes for her/children – 72%
  • School fees and materials – 67%
  • Farm and labor – 37%
  • Health fees – 12%
  • Start business – 9%
  • Give to husband – 8%