Sewing Machines Contribute to School Enrollment and Health Care in Tanzania

by Patricia Hamill
Spring 2014 InGear

In October of 2013, with the generous support of grant money from one of our valued supporters, Clif Bar Family Foundation, P4P shipped 41 sewing machines to the region of Dar es Salaam (DSM) in Tanzania. Our partner there, Community Support Mission (CSM), works closely with those in poverty to help them earn their own living and create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

According to CSM’s director, Jonathan Mulokozi, four of the machines went to the Messack Secondary School, located in Kivule, in the District of Ilala. Of the 350 students, 60 are orphans and 42 are from very poor families. The machines’ primary use to date has been to sew uniforms for schools. The income earned from the production of this clothing has covered school fees among other difficult costs these children must meet if they are to have an independent and economically viable adulthood.

CSM also works with families or groups in need. They donated 3 machines to women whose families were struggling to maintain decent living conditions and hoping to stay together instead of dispersing for work in far-away districts or regions. One particular woman, Anna Ntimba, was fortunate in that she already knew how to sew; however, she did not have the income to afford her own machine. Her husband was recently diagnosed with a heart disease and could not easily support the family, much less pay the hospital bills. With the machine in hand, Anna was able to earn the income she needed to keep her family together and enable her husband to begin healing.

Mrs Anna Ntimba (Tanz #1)In January of this year, CSM donated sewing machines to 4 women whose families are in poverty and cannot afford to send their children to school. CSM has also pledged to provide 2 machines to each group of 3 people who wish to form their own business. As well, 2 secondary schools in Kagera are slotted to receive sewing machines so they can continue to earn income to cover basic school needs for local orphans.

Not all the partners we work with request both sewing machines and bicycles. When this combination does come into play, there are double the opportunities opened up to people in a region, thus increasing the odds that we can create a lasting positive impact. We are looking forward to receiving news and photos of the students and their families as more machines and bicycles become available to them.

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