Namelok is a proud mother of four from a Maasai tribe in the remote Longido District of northern Tanzania. She owns her own shop and a small guest house, but life was not always so good for Namelok.
Several years ago, Namelok was living in extreme poverty and as a woman, had no voice in her community. So when two of her daughters were forced to marry older men who she knew would be violent against her children, she was helpless to intervene simply because she was a woman. Her situation became even more unbearable when her husband turned to alcohol and sold the few goats and cows that she depended on to provide for her younger children.
It was at this point in her life that Namelok came across a Hope for Children women’s group, that provided both support from women who had been in similar situations, and the opportunity to enrol on a micro-credit project. For the first time in a long time, Namelok felt like she belonged.
After much training on business, land rights and women rights she made the brave decision to visit the local markets and sell soap, oil, and milk. In the last two years she has been among some of the most successful people in her community to establish a sustainable business, and has now grown this to include a shop and guesthouse.
Namelok is among the few inspirational women in her village who have been incredibly successful in business, especially considering her very difficult beginning.
"The other women groups and other villages really respect me now. I am always invited to meetings and many sessions where I get to tell my story. My husband has also stopped drinking and has been helping me with the shop."
As she points out, the most important change in her life is that her two younger children are now in school and she believes that they will all go to University one day. Not only this, she also believes she is a strong female role model in her family, and her community.