This is Nyamvura is a Burundian refugee artisan in the Mtendeli camp in Northwestern Tanzania.
Nyamvura lives in two tents together with her husband, her nine children and six other children she is providing for – 17 people total. They fled to Tanzania in the middle of the night after armed militias had entered her village and people had started disappearing.
Her main challenge in the camp is inadequate shelter, with a lack of space, leaking roofs and only straw mats to sleep on. As a refugee, she is not allowed to leave the camp without a permit, which can be difficult to get. Monthly food rations were cut and now they don’t get enough food to provide for everyone under her care.
Nyamvura loves to weave. Following family tradition, she learned to weave from her mother at a young age. She wanted to pursue weaving in Burundi to support her family but was forced to give up on it because of a lack of customers. Today, Nyamvura is proud to again be pursuing her weaving passion as part of WomenCraft’s refugee artisan group in the camp. She loves the new standardized designs and is excited to have learned to use molds and tape measures for her weaving. She jokes that:
‘At home, everyone makes different shapes and designs. Not even the same person can make the same product twice.’
Through her weaving, Nyamvura provides the only reliable income for the 16 people she takes care of in the camp. With her income, she buys food to complement insufficient food rations and works on improving their inadequate housing situation. She wants to become a successful entrepreneur and is eager to move their weaving business forward. When asked what she would like her customers to know, she says:
‘I am excited to receive orders from around the world! I want my customers to know that I am confident in my weaving and whatever design, shape or order quantity they need, we can do it!’