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Across Tanzania, hundreds of thousands of women have lost their husbands to HIV/AIDS, diseases, other illnesses and accidents. Oftentimes, after a man dies, his surviving wife and children face extreme challenges including economic hardships, social stigmatization, and abuse and mistreatment from the husband/father’s extended family. Relatives of the deceased often take back the husband’s properties, leaving the surviving wife and children with little to nothing. Othertimes women are forced to marry one of her husband’s brothers to keep his “property” within the family. Children are particularly at risk as they are often forced to drop from school and are left uniquely vulnerable to physical and sexual violence as well as teen marriage and slave labor.

Unite is committed to empowering as many impoverished-yet-entrepreneurial widows as possible with loans, grants & mentorship to help them not only survive but THRIVE and achieve independence, dignity, self-respect and self-reliance.

The cost of sponsoring one widow in need? $500. Please email anne@uniteafricafoundation to learn more or CLICK HERE to donate any amount towards this program now.


What does Sponsorship cover?

  • A grant for each widow to grow and develop her small businesses.

  • Monthly educational workshops for the widows led by professionals from Tanzania and abroad. Topics TBD.

  • One-on-one trainings with skilled professionals to assist the women with reading, learning English, business planning, budgeting, family issues, and more.

  • Support for the Widows to participate in and present at Unite’s annual International Symposium.

  • Support for the Widow’s with the marketing of their products through Unite’s local and international networks.

  • Monthly group meetings with Unite’s Program Manager to bring the women together as a group to socialize, share stories, feel a sense of belonging and know that they are worthy, that their hopes and dreams matter, and they are important members of our Unite family.


 

Meet a few of the widows now enrolled in our program

Wendy Nyagawa

 
Wendy Nyagawa , 43, grew up in Tanzania in a poor family. She completed primary school with good grades however her parents could not afford for her to continue with her education. So Wendy stayed home at 14 doing domestic labor. Eventually she married and had two daughters. In 2004 her husband fell ill. In 2006 he was found to be HIV positive, and he died from AIDS in 2007 leaving Wendy alone to care for their two daughters and two additional children he had previously with another woman. Wendy herself was diagnosed with HIV shortly after her husband died, and she has been attending clinics regularly every month since.  Wendy’s husband left her with a car and a partially built family home. She sold the car to finish building the house, pay school fees and to attend a tailoring course to find a source of income. Life has been extremely challenging for Wendy as her health is poor and she suffers extreme weakness in her left leg and hand. As an HIV+ woman, Wendy faces severe stigmatization by family and community members. She says that “it is very painful living in a society where people reject you, say negative words about you, judge you, call you names and put through all kinds of shame.” Wendy is thankful that she has one neighbor whom she trusts and that neighbor tries her best to help Wendy when she is desperate for food, school fees and so forth.  Despite her great challenges and misfortunes, Wendy has managed to put her children through school to University. She says that education is the only way her children can ever have a better life. In addition to tailoring Wendy cooks small bites (mandazi) and sells drinking water and bananas. As a member of our Mjane Jasiri Hero Widows’ Program, Wendy will work closely with Program Manager Rhoda Lugazia to expand her small enterprise by adding a piggery and small chicken farm to earn a greater income so that she and her children can survive and thrive.

Wendy Nyagawa, 43, grew up in Tanzania in a poor family. She completed primary school with good grades however her parents could not afford for her to continue with her education. So Wendy stayed home at 14 doing domestic labor. Eventually she married and had two daughters. In 2004 her husband fell ill. In 2006 he was found to be HIV positive, and he died from AIDS in 2007 leaving Wendy alone to care for their two daughters and two additional children he had previously with another woman. Wendy herself was diagnosed with HIV shortly after her husband died, and she has been attending clinics regularly every month since.

Wendy’s husband left her with a car and a partially built family home. She sold the car to finish building the house, pay school fees and to attend a tailoring course to find a source of income. Life has been extremely challenging for Wendy as her health is poor and she suffers extreme weakness in her left leg and hand. As an HIV+ woman, Wendy faces severe stigmatization by family and community members. She says that “it is very painful living in a society where people reject you, say negative words about you, judge you, call you names and put through all kinds of shame.” Wendy is thankful that she has one neighbor whom she trusts and that neighbor tries her best to help Wendy when she is desperate for food, school fees and so forth.

Despite her great challenges and misfortunes, Wendy has managed to put her children through school to University. She says that education is the only way her children can ever have a better life. In addition to tailoring Wendy cooks small bites (mandazi) and sells drinking water and bananas. As a member of our Mjane Jasiri Hero Widows’ Program, Wendy will work closely with Program Manager Rhoda Lugazia to expand her small enterprise by adding a piggery and small chicken farm to earn a greater income so that she and her children can survive and thrive.

 

PELEZ LUKO NYAGAWA

 
Pelez Lazaro Mpimiwas’ , 47, husband was a policeman who was shot on-duty while protecting his community against armed robbers. He died while Pelez was pregnant with their third daughter. Pelez herself had dropped from school at 12-years-old after primary level, so following her husband’s untimely death, she was left with no skills, no job and no one to look up to for help. Meanwhile her children looked up to her as their mother to provide and carter for all the basic needs including paying school fees, provide food, clothing and good shelter. It was not easy for her. Luckily her husband had started building their house so she and her children moved in while it was unfinished.  Pelez attended a seminar at her church called “Mjasiriamali Kwanza” which means “Entrepreneur First” and learned various skills such as making Batiks fabrics, cooking small bites (mandazi), financial literacy and basic business management skills. She has been surviving making batiks for many years but still struggles to pay for food and school fees for her daughters and three grandchildren (above), whose biological father refused to marry Pelez’s daughter and eventually abandoned them.  As a member of Unite’s Mjane Jasiri Hero Widows Program, Pelez will work with our team to improve and expand her small Batik business, which only yields about 100,000 TSH a month (~$45) to provide for her entire family. She will also develop and business plan for a new small-scale catering company that she will call “Mama Ntilie.” Pelez has been doing due diligence in her community and feels there is a need for and opportunity with such a venture.  Pelez’s biggest wish is to be able to provide for her children and grandchildren. She is not satisfied with the life they are living, and she prays to God that she will able to give her children a good education so that they may have a bright future.

Pelez Lazaro Mpimiwas’, 47, husband was a policeman who was shot on-duty while protecting his community against armed robbers. He died while Pelez was pregnant with their third daughter. Pelez herself had dropped from school at 12-years-old after primary level, so following her husband’s untimely death, she was left with no skills, no job and no one to look up to for help. Meanwhile her children looked up to her as their mother to provide and carter for all the basic needs including paying school fees, provide food, clothing and good shelter. It was not easy for her. Luckily her husband had started building their house so she and her children moved in while it was unfinished.

Pelez attended a seminar at her church called “Mjasiriamali Kwanza” which means “Entrepreneur First” and learned various skills such as making Batiks fabrics, cooking small bites (mandazi), financial literacy and basic business management skills. She has been surviving making batiks for many years but still struggles to pay for food and school fees for her daughters and three grandchildren (above), whose biological father refused to marry Pelez’s daughter and eventually abandoned them.

As a member of Unite’s Mjane Jasiri Hero Widows Program, Pelez will work with our team to improve and expand her small Batik business, which only yields about 100,000 TSH a month (~$45) to provide for her entire family. She will also develop and business plan for a new small-scale catering company that she will call “Mama Ntilie.” Pelez has been doing due diligence in her community and feels there is a need for and opportunity with such a venture.

Pelez’s biggest wish is to be able to provide for her children and grandchildren. She is not satisfied with the life they are living, and she prays to God that she will able to give her children a good education so that they may have a bright future.