Winnie is a loving 40-year-old mother from a Maasai community in the Longido region of Tanzania. She used to live happily with her husband and 4 daughters, making a living from the family’s 8 acres of land and the livestock they reared on the land.
Then 8 years ago, Winnie’s husband was suddenly diagnosed with malaria. Tragically, he died just a few weeks later. To make the situation even more desperate, Maasai culture dictates that following a family death, the next male heir inherits any livestock.
As all her children were girls, Winnie’s brother-in-law took all the livestock that had been supporting the family. Not long after her 2 eldest daughters were married off to friends of her brother-in-law, and their dowries went to other male family members leaving Winnie and her 2 remaining daughters with nothing.
Despite still owning the land, the family had no way of turning this into a sustainable source of income, and they were forced to rely on food handouts from neighbours to survive.
After several years of doing everything she could to support her girls, Winnie heard about a new Hope for Children project that was helping women create sustainable incomes nearby. Initially, Winnie enrolled herself to receive training in business management and financial literacy, and she started to believe again she could provide for her family again.
A few months later, Winnie was one of the 1st women to be given a business loan so that she could fulfill her dream of setting up her own business buying clothes from the border and selling them within the Maasai community.
As a result, Winnie is now able to provide for her daughters, feed them and is rebuilding her family life. “I have faith that…I will be successful in business and be able to provide for my daughters. My family members have respect for me and I have also new friends”