This year we’re kickstarting our new social enterprise, Vumwe Designs! In working with 99 gender-based violence survivors-turned-entrepreneurs, we are constantly inspired. Below you’ll meet one of our artisans, Neemaeli Mgonja, who agreed to let us share a bit about her.

Neemaeli Mgonja is an artisan-entrepreneur from the village of Ishinde. She has five children and a handful of grandchildren. Her youngest, Mohamed, is 12-years-old and is happy to be in school. Being able to provide for her family is important to Neemaeli. Not only can she ensure that her children and grandchildren who are school-aged have the proper school uniform and fees, but through her work with Vumwe, she also has enough leftover to invest in her other small business and provide for other basic needs.

“Through the capital I get for my small business, my overall income has improved and I earn a good standard of life. I always dreamed of a good education and a good job and now I’m able to provide that for my children. My hope for them is now a better future and an improved standard of living,” she says.

Neemaeli enjoys being a mom and her kids are proud of her work with Vumwe Designs. “Sometimes, when they are home, I teach them the process of making our fabric products, too! We love working together on our farm, talking, sharing ideas, and making decisions together. We have fun together!”

Neemaeli is skilled at both batik and tie-dye and her friends describe her as being confident and hardworking. She treasures her friends and loves sitting together with them and sharing ideas. During the pandemic, she has been careful about preventing illness. “We must follow everything we’ve been taught about prevention,” she says, “and lean on the basis of our faith.”

If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved with our new fairtrade social enterprise, you can check out the following:

  • Read more about Vumwe Designs HERE.
  • Shop our store HERE.
  • Donate HERE.
  • Tell your friends! Share this blog post and our social media posts!
  • Invite us to speak about women’s empowerment through entrepreneurialism at your community group.
  • Reach out to learn more: information@empowertz.org.