WomenCraft is a community-driven organization in Tanzania aiming to bring money to struggling families through the production of weaved baskets. In this way the families can support themselves with a craft they learned as part of their culture. WomenCraft follows a peace driven approach in order to connect women from all over Tanzania through their common goals and desires. Their peaceful enterprise has helped relieve tensions between refugee and non-refugee communities. Asneth Jackson was one of the first artisans to join WomenCraft when it was founded in 2007. Read her story below…
Asneth Jackson lives with her five children in the rural Mwivuza village in Northwestern Tanzania, bordering Rwanda and Burundi. Following local traditions, Asneth started weaving at a young age and quickly mastered various techniques and designs. In 2008, she joined WomenCraft as one of the first artisans to weave with the business. Today, Asneth is proud to be one of five ‘lead artisans’ overseeing order production and quality control of over 300 artisans. In total, Asneth supervises 8 groups with 71 artisans and coordinates orders directly with the WomenCraft office via iPad.
Before joining WomenCraft, Asneth spent her days farming, mostly for food and generating little income for the household. With an agricultural livelihood, her family was vulnerable as harvests were regularly spoiled by crop diseases and poor climatic conditions.
Today, as part of WomenCraft, Asneth meets with her artisan colleagues every day at their artisan center where they spend the day weaving orders. For most artisans, weaving has become a dependable livelihood and the most important source of household income. As a result, Asneth and her colleagues started hiring farm labourers to cultivate their farms and harvest their crops. This not only enables Asneth to maximize her weaving time and income, but also increases farm yields and thus food for the family and surplus which can be sold on local markets.
“My family is proud of me because I am providing a good livelihood for them through my weaving and I can pay for the education of all my children.” – Asneth
Asneth has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and it is her goal to continue growing with WomenCraft and to become a successful business woman. When asked what she would like her customers to know about herself, she says that:
“I would like our customers to know how much work goes into making one of our products – everything is woven by hand and even a small product can take several days to make. Our products are beautiful and we are ready for orders from customers around the world!” – Asneth
Stories like Asneth’s continue to remind us here at Branch Out Market why we are so devoted to the aid of these organizations. WomenCraft’s beautiful weaved baskets are available in our shop. Purchasing them allows you to bring the inspiration of women like Asneth into your home and to benefit hard working artisans who just want to support their families and do what they love.
Click here to see the beautiful handmade baskets that are changing Asneth and her colleague’s lives.