AFRICA/TANZANIA - A future of hope for women who become protagonists of a society that ignores their rights

Friday, 28 January 2022

Mwanza (Agenzia Fides) - Many girls between the ages of 9 and 20 who had dropped out of school are coming back to dream, make life plans, look to the future with hope and courage. All this is made possible thanks to the “Mikono Yetu” Center which trains women to become protagonists of society. Sister Kathleen, Provincial of the Irish Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles (NSA), who recently returned from a visit to Tanzania, spoke to Fides. "Mikono Yetu is an expression in Kiswahili, the national language of Tanzania, which means 'Our hands' - explains Sister Kathleen who knew the Center through Sister Regina Opoku, her sister originally from Ghana, a missionary in Tanzania for 28 years". Sister Regina is now one of the pillars of the Mikono Yetu Center. It is an NGO founded and formed exclusively by women, whose motto is: A girl is an eagle, not a chicken". "The Center aims to make women more aware and responsible, through training in various fields, in order to improve their standard of living, through economic and cultural activities that they design and manage. Mikono Yetu promotes the gender equality in a society where men have always wanted to rule and possess, ignoring the rights of women. The founders of Mikono Yetu, says Sister Kathleen, wanted to fight against domestic violence, which is widespread in Africa, and learned from experience that when women have economic power, they can also resist violence from their men and improve their lives and those of their children. In Tanzania, as in many African countries, the majority of women and their children still have to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Mikono Yetu taught women to work the land using more productive techniques and spending less time and energy, taught them how to set up collective farms, owned by women, and showed them how to make many everyday products, such as soap, yoghurt and cooking oil, as well as clay utensils, wood or recycled materials.
"These activities generate an income that is revolutionizing the lives of women who are used to depending on their husbands or doing simple survival activities. In the courses held in Mikono Yetu, entirely taught by women, they learn how to manage a micro-credit, to face the harmful effects of climate change, to know and protect themselves against HIV and Covid, and using mobile phones and tablets intelligently and productively. During the Covid pandemic, the Center supported the women, helping them to carry out their activities even in these difficult times. (MP/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 28/1/2022)