“Mother’s Love” – Shaban’s story

“Mother’s Love” – Shaban’s story

March 10, 2024
The Hive Mama's of Tanzania stand with Shaban, a 7 year old boy with Albinism who they helped access school
The Hive Mama's of Tanzania stand with Shaban, a 7 year old boy with Albinism who they helped access school

The Hive Mamas and Shaban

The Hive Mama’s in Tanzania have countless heartwarming stories to tell. The most recent story is of a young boy called Shaban. The Hive Mama’s show why their group is also know as “Mother’s Love”

Partnership Manager for Tanzania, Rachel Monger, shared this story:

There was a certain old woman who came to the Upendo wa Mama women’s group last week as they were making batik at their workshop in Mwanza. She has a grandson, Shaban, (age 7) who was born with albinism and abandoned by his mother. The father had also rejected the baby and the mother left him with his grandmother. No one knows where the mother or father are now.

The grandmother lives on Kome Island, where the stigma is far worse than in the city of Mwanza; she wanted to send Shaban to the government school but teachers and students were segregating him. She heard about Mitindo school in Mwanza, for children with albinism but she didn’t have even shoes for Shaban, no school uniform or anything which could support him to start school.

Through her sister in Mwanza, she heard about the women of “Mother’s Love” and she came to find them at their workshop and told them her story and how she is in need for her grandson.

The mamas pledged that they would do what they could to help and asked her to return after one week. One week later they received their Mama Hive salaries.

The Hive Mamas used their salaries to purchase almost everything that was needed: School trousers, socks, bar soaps, exercise book, blanket, suitcase to keep all his things at school, underwear, bucket and basin, toothpaste and toothbrush, mosquito net, and shoes … and 25,000 TZS. (£8)

Shaban came with his grandma to the workshop and received all these items which he has taken to start at his new school.

Elizabeti’s story

Elizabeti’s story

December 3, 2023


Rachel Monger, Country Manager for Tanzania, shared a first-person account from Elizabeti*, mother to a young child with albinism.

Trigger warning: the write-up below contains events that some may find upsetting.

*not her real name

Elizabeti's story


Rachel Monger, Country Manager for Tanzania, shared a first-person account from Elizabeti, mother to a young child with albinism.

Elizabeti, based in northern Tanzania, was eighteen and 5 months pregnant with her first child when her husband died. Grieving, she went back to her family and in time gave birth to her child, a child with albinism. She named him Baraka, which means “blessing” but she was immediately cut off from her late husband’s family; shunned and shamed, she was seen as a curse.

Later, a man approached Elizabeti and her family, asking to marry her. The family was initially delighted at this unexpected turn of events. But before the marriage took place, Elizabeti was approached secretively by a friend of the man, who warned her that the future husband had dark intentions to kill her child in order to sell his body parts for witchcraft.

Elizabeti broke off the engagement with the man, but after escaping intruders in her home one night, she knew the life of her child was in danger, and her own life as well. Warned by a friend of imminent danger a week later, she fled in the darkness, running with her baby boy for his life. She ended up in Mwanza, where she found the support of Under the Same Sun. She received a sewing machine and was looking to support herself and her child by sewing clothes when she joined the Upendo wa Mama (“Mother’s Love”) group.

Now, nine years later, Elizabeti is happily married with more beautiful children. She has trained and excelled in her sewing skills and is valued member of the albinism women’s group, making beeswax products to sell. She takes the handmade batiks that the women make and turns them into aprons, cushion covers and cloth napkins. During COVID, she sewed an uncountable number of colourful batik face masks!

And now, with support from Bees Abroad, as the women start their own honey and beeswax social enterprise as a national NGO, rebranding themselves as “Mama Hive,” Elizabeti is boldly taking a step not many women in Tanzania have taken … onto a motorbike! She has spent the last few months with MJ Piki (“Mwanamke Jasiri ya PikiPiki” or “Brave women on motorcycles”) learning how to drive and maintain a motorbike. She is about to start her training on a 3-wheeler, in order to become the official driver for the Mama Hive Bajaji.

This exciting new project is going to convert a normal Tanzanian bajaj (3-wheeler used for transporting goods) into a trendy mobile shop which the women will take around the city to sell honey and beeswax products.

From the desperate terror of running for her life with her baby boy, Elizabeti is now a brave advocate for women and children with albinism. She has overcome persecution, adversity and stigma; gone from being homeless, alone and destitute to being part of social enterprise earning her own income, to show that truly this beeswax artisan can!

Elizabeth's story


Rachel Monger, Country Manager for Tanzania, shared a first-person account from Elizabeti, mother to a young child with albinism.

Elizabeti, based in northern Tanzania, was eighteen and 5 months pregnant with her first child when her husband died. Grieving, she went back to her family and in time gave birth to her child, a child with albinism. She named him Baraka, which means “blessing” but she was immediately cut off from her late husband’s family; shunned and shamed, she was seen as a curse and the cause of her husband’s death.

Later, a man approached Elizabeti and her family, asking to marry her. The family was initially delighted at this unexpected turn of events. But before the marriage took place, Elizabeti was approached secretively by a friend of the man, who warned her that the future husband had dark intentions to kill her child in order to sell his body parts for witchcraft.

Elizabeti broke off the engagement with the man, but after being attacked but escaping intruders in her home one night, she knew the life of her child was in danger, and her own life at risk as well. Warned of imminent danger one night a week later by a friend, she fled in the darkness, running with her baby boy for his life. She ended up in Mwanza, where she found the support of Under the Same Sun. She received a sewing machine and was looking to support herself and her child by sewing clothes when she joined the Upendo wa Mama (“Mother’s Love”) group.

Now, nine years later, Elizabeti is happily married with more beautiful children. She has trained and excelled in her sewing skills and is valued member of the albinism women’s group, making beeswax products to sell. She takes the handmade batiks that the women make and turns them into aprons, cushion covers and cloth napkins. During COVID, she sewed an uncountable number of colourful batik face masks!

And now, with support from Bees Abroad, as the women start their own honey and beeswax social enterprise as a national NGO, rebranding themselves as “Mama Hive,” Elizabeti is boldly taking a step not many women in Tanzania have taken … onto a motorbike! She has spent the last few months with MJ Piki (“Mwanamke Jasiri ya PikiPiki” or “Brave women on motorcycles”) learning how to drive and maintain a motorbike. She is about to start her training on a 3-wheeler, in order to become the official driver for the Mama Hive Bajaji.

This exciting new project is going to convert a normal Tanzanian bajaj (3-wheeler used for transporting goods) into a trendy mobile shop which the women will take around the city to sell honey and beeswax products.

From the desperate terror of running for her life with her baby boy, Elizabeti is now a brave advocate for women and children with albinism. She has overcome persecution, adversity and stigma; gone from being homeless, alone and destitute to being part of social enterprise earning her own income, to show that truly this beeswax artisan can!

The Big Give, a Big Thank You

Our work is only possible with your support.
Support bees wax entrepreneurs like Elizabeti.

From all donations will be doubled until Tuesday the 5th December – one donation, double the impact.  

We can’t do what we do without your support, so thank you!   

Elizabeth's story

Rachel Monger, Country Manager for Tanzania, shared a first-person account from Elizabeti*, mother to a young child with albinism. Trigger warning: the write-up below contains events that some may find upsetting.

*not her real name

Elizabeti, based in northern Tanzania, was eighteen and 5 months pregnant with her first child when her husband died. Grieving, she went back to her family and in time gave birth to her child, a child with albinism. She named him Baraka, which means “blessing” but she was immediately cut off from her late husband’s family; shunned and shamed, she was seen as a curse and the cause of her husband’s death.

Later, a man approached Elizabeti and her family, asking to marry her. The family was initially delighted at this unexpected turn of events. But before the marriage took place, Elizabeti was approached secretively by a friend of the man, who warned her that the future husband had dark intentions to kill her child in order to sell his body parts for witchcraft.

Elizabeti broke off the engagement with the man, but after being attacked but escaping intruders in her home one night, she knew the life of her child was in danger, and her own life at risk as well. Warned of imminent danger one night a week later by a friend, she fled in the darkness, running with her baby boy for his life. She ended up in Mwanza, where she found the support of Under the Same Sun. She received a sewing machine and was looking to support herself and her child by sewing clothes when she joined the Upendo wa Mama (“Mother’s Love”) group.

Now, nine years later, Elizabeti is happily married with more beautiful children. She has trained and excelled in her sewing skills and is valued member of the albinism women’s group, making beeswax products to sell. She takes the handmade batiks that the women make and turns them into aprons, cushion covers and cloth napkins. During COVID, she sewed an uncountable number of colourful batik face masks!

And now, with support from Bees Abroad, as the women start their own honey and beeswax social enterprise as a national NGO, rebranding themselves as “Mama Hive,” Elizabeti is boldly taking a step not many women in Tanzania have taken … onto a motorbike! She has spent the last few months with MJ Piki (“Mwanamke Jasiri ya PikiPiki” or “Brave women on motorcycles”) learning how to drive and maintain a motorbike. She is about to start her training on a 3-wheeler, in order to become the official driver for the Mama Hive Bajaji.

This exciting new project is going to convert a normal Tanzanian bajaj (3-wheeler used for transporting goods) into a trendy mobile shop which the women will take around the city to sell honey and beeswax products.

From the desperate terror of running for her life with her baby boy, Elizabeti is now a brave advocate for women and children with albinism. She has overcome persecution, adversity and stigma; gone from being homeless, alone and destitute to being part of social enterprise earning her own income, to show that truly this beeswax artisan can!

Now, nine years later, Elizabeti is happily married with more beautiful children. She has trained and excelled in her sewing skills and is valued member of the albinism women’s group, making beeswax products to sell. She takes the handmade batiks that the women make and turns them into aprons, cushion covers and cloth napkins. During COVID, she sewed an uncountable number of colourful batik face masks!

And now, with support from Bees Abroad, as the women start their own honey and beeswax social enterprise as a national NGO, rebranding themselves as “Mama Hive,” Elizabeti is boldly taking a step not many women in Tanzania have taken … onto a motorbike! She has spent the last few months with MJ Piki (“Mwanamke Jasiri ya PikiPiki” or “Brave women on motorcycles”) learning how to drive and maintain a motorbike. She is about to start her training on a 3-wheeler, in order to become the official driver for the Mama Hive Bajaji.

This exciting new project is going to convert a normal Tanzanian bajaj (3-wheeler used for transporting goods) into a trendy mobile shop which the women will take around the city to sell honey and beeswax products.

From the desperate terror of running for her life with her baby boy, Elizabeti is now a brave advocate for women and children with albinism. She has overcome persecution, adversity and stigma; gone from being homeless, alone and destitute to being part of social enterprise earning her own income, to show that truly this beeswax artisan can!

Ambassadors of Hope

Ambassadors of Hope

December 1, 2023

In the last blog, Rachel Monger, Country Manager for Tanzania, shared some first-person accounts from women with albinism and why having albinism has historically led to marginalisation and other challenges in Tanzania. In this blog, we delve into the partnership between Bees Abroad and the women of Under The Same Sun and how bees wax is helping transform lives.

Bees wax: from waste to premium product

The women of Under The Same Sun were looking for a way to generate a livelihood for themselves. The perfect came with the introduction of a beekeeping project in nearby villages with the charity, Emmanuel International (Bees Abroad local partner). These new rural beekeepers had no idea that beeswax had value and were discarding it in the bush.

“But there is no market for wax!” they said. And so, we created the market. The Upendo wa Mama group agreed to buy the wax from the beekeepers. They also bought from other beekeepers in the area. They learned how to make basic balms and candles to sell. With the provision of a workshop space from Standing Voice, the business grew. By 2019, they were making beautiful Kitenge Bees Wraps, a wide variety of balms and soaps, polish, Nyuki Stix, batiks and all kinds of candles. Together with support from Under the Same Sun, they opened a shop, The Hive and established markets with tourists and ‘expats’ across the country. They started buying honey from the new beekeeping groups and labelling and bottling it for sale locally.

A fly-wheel effect of positive change

There have been many struggles and challenges, but the strength and resilience of these women is inspirational. As well as their group work, making and selling beeswax products, they have been able to put the skills and confidence they have gained through being part of the group to amazing benefit at home.

Two of them had never been to school and could not read or write. They have been able to have literacy training and are working hard to gain and improve these life-changing skills. Two have been for computer-literacy training to develop skills, two have been for intensive tailoring classes. One who suffered serious mental health issues from the trauma she experienced is now producing and selling her own product; another has started a pig project and another is making and selling soaps and lotion.

Ambassadors of hope

The change in these women is clearly evident; they can hold their heads high and be proud of who they are and what they can do. They are beginning to push boundaries and challenge opinion on the possibilities open to people with albinism.

The women have spoken to young people with albinism about the importance of love and family (something that young people with albinism doubted could ever be possible for them). They have been involved in community seminars for women in Mwanza, aimed at encouraging support groups and entrepreneurship for people in similar situations.

Four women of The Hive, Tanzania standing outside. Two of them have Albinism. They are all holding wheels of bees wax

A blossoming social enterprise

Bees Abroad has now just joined their journey and there are exciting things ahead! With support from Bees Abroad and BMCC, a local church, last month they registered “Mama Hive,” their own national NGO, a honey and beeswax social enterprise. With a managing director and sales and marketing manager, they are looking to launch to a new level of business and become a means of training and support for other marginalised women and girls.

The goal is for Mama Hive to be influential in promoting change in society’s understanding of albinism and to empower ambassadors for others whose human rights have been abused or potential not realised.

Watch this space as we share more about the exciting things happening with this project and more about the amazing women involved!

The Big Give, a Big Thank You

Our work is only possible with your support.
Support groups like Upendo wa Mama (“Mother’s Love”).

From Tuesday, the 28th November for one week all donations will be doubled – one donation, double the impact.  

We can’t do what we do without your support, so thank you!   

Four women of The Hive, Tanzania standing outside. Two of them have Albinism. They are all holding wheels of bees wax

Crimes of Colour, a Ray of Hope

Crimes of Colour, a Ray of Hope

November 29, 2023

Rachel Monger, Partnership Manager for Tanzania, shares first-person accounts from women with albinism and why having albinism can lead to marginalisation and persecution in Tanzania.

Trigger warning: the write-up below contains events that some may find upsetting

Crimes of Colour

It was on August 14, 2014, when Munghu, a 35 year old woman with albinism, was attacked in Tanzania. Her left arm was hacked off below the elbow, her right arm mutilated, and she was left to bleed to death. Her husband (without albinism) was killed as he tried to defend his wife and their two children. Just nine days earlier Pendo, a 15-year-old girl had been attacked. Her attackers ran off into the night with her right hand, hacked off below the elbow with a machete.

These were terrifying times for people with albinism. “White and Black: Crimes of Colour,” a documentary produced in collaboration with Under the Same Sun, revealed to the rest of the world what was happening. It followed the undercover work of Vicky Ntetema, (a Tanzanian journalist and later recipient of the International Women of Courage Award) examining the superstitions and fears surrounding albinism in Tanzania and the brutal consequences of these prejudices and the witchdoctors who prey on people with albinism for profit.

White & Black: Crimes of Colour. A documentary directed by Jean-François Méan

About Albinism in Tanzania

Albinism is a genetic skin disorder that results in the lack of production of melanin in the skin, hair and eyes, resulting in light or no colour. People with albinism are visually impaired and they are dangerously susceptible to skin cancer, often leading to early death. But more horrific is the stigma attached to this condition in Tanzania. People have called them “ghosts” considering them inhuman. Their body parts, which can be sold for a great deal of money, have been sought after for witchcraft potions to bring fortune and good luck. And tragically it is the children who are the most vulnerable to kidnapping, mutilation and murder.

A woman who gives birth to a child with albinism will often be considered a curse on the family or village and cut off, mistreated or sent away homeless, ostracised from community with her child at constant risk of being attacked or killed.

Under the Same Sun – a ray of hope

In Mwanza, Tanzania, a small group of women were brought together by Ester Rwela, an incredible ambassador for people with albinism, working at the time with Under the Same Sun.

These women were just some of the many mamas who were walking the difficult and painful journey of albinism in Tanzania. Mamas whose young children had been brutally murdered or attacked. Mamas who were cursed and shunned by their family or village for giving birth to a child with albinism. Mamas whose own husbands had played a role in horrific attacks. Mamas who had given birth only to have their husband leave them alone and unsupported, to find a wife who “not cursed” to bear his children. Mamas who had every shred of security, confidence and love stripped from them.

Ester introduced me to these precious women who had been told in every possible way, “you can’t…” This was the beginning of my journey with Upendo wa Mama, which means “Mother’s Love”, Rachel shares. 

Upendo wa Mama - “Mother’s Love”

The Upendo wa Mama group came together to support one another in the pain of all they were going through. Two had albinism and the others had children with albinism. They had all lost so much. They also needed income to survive, and we worked together to find ways to generate income. Over the past 8 years I have been immensely privileged to journey with these women. Together we have laughed and cried; we have struggled, and we have celebrated and each one of us has learned and grown in different ways. Here is a little of the story that takes us to Mama Hive and Bees Abroad today…

Join us in the next blog to find out how Bees Abroad and the women of Under The Same Sun are collaborating.

The Big Give, a Big Thank You

Our work is only possible with your support.
Support groups like Upendo wa Mama (“Mother’s Love”).

From the 28th November to the 5th of December, all donations will be doubled – one donation, double the impact.  

We can’t do what we do without your support, so thank you!   

The Bee and The Tree

The Bee and The Tree

May 9, 2023

Mama Merizana’s Mango tree

Our Green Story continues as we buzz from the fields in Sierra Leone to the trees in Tanzania. This is the story of the bees and the trees, starting with the story of Mama Meriziana and her mango tree.

Mama Meriziana has a small plot of land to grow enough food to feed her family. It is not a large area and when this story started she farmed only maize, but at one end of her plot there was a single mango tree. Mama Meriziana struggles with poor health and she joined the beekeeping group to learn how to become a beekeeper with a top-bar hive, something she could manage in order to generate much-needed extra income through honey sales. But she had no idea when she started what would happen to her mango tree!

After hanging her hive in her mango tree, she waited. Waited for the bees to naturally arrive and waited for the honey to appear on the comb. And then, it was mango season.

The Bee and The Mango Tree

Mama Meriziana had never seen so many mangos on her tree. Neither had anyone in the village and people were walking by looking at her mangos, exclaiming there had never been so many mangos on this tree before! When they asked her why she had so many more mangos, she was happy to explain something she had learned in her first training session… that bees pollinate trees, increasing their yield of fruit. Honeybees are effective pollinators for mango trees and pollination from bees can significantly increase yields of mango trees, by as much as 50%.

Meriziana had a bumper crop of fruit for herself and family as well as plenty to sell. Mangos are loved for their sweet, juicy taste, they have great nutritional value and having a surplus of mangos creates an opportunity to generate extra income.

Bees (and beekeepers!) helping trees

Mango trees are not the only trees that bees love. Around 80% of indigenous flowering plants in Africa benefit from honeybee pollination, including native trees such as avocado, acacia, guava and lemon. Bees will also buzz off into surrounding forests and help pollinate wild trees, helping to support places like the Gola rainforest that we heard about in our blog last week.

But there is a problem. Many areas, including Meriziana’s region of Tanzania, have suffered from deforestation. The elders of Mama Meriziana’s family were planning to chop her mango tree down to sell for firewood. But after that mango season, Meriziana was able to convince them to keep the tree; she could show that the extra mangos and honey produced from the hives in the tree would pay more each year than a single sale of firewood.

To combat tree loss, Bees Abroad projects often include supporting beekeepers to plant trees and establish tree nurseries for native trees which are planted locally.  The beekeeping projects encourage people to save and protect the trees, giving a very tangible reason to keep a tree.

Bees, trees and beyond

After Mama Meriziana’s success, she soon had another hive hung in the tree and the following planting season, worked on planting additional crops pollinated by bees. Sustainable beekeeping is a great tool for sustainable farming, as we saw last week in The Bee and The Bean story. The following year, there were flowering bean plants interspersed among the maize and tall heads of sunflowers shining by Mama Meriziana’s mango tree! 

Keep following the Green Story… after looking at the value of the bees for human-wildlife conflict, crop pollination and trees, next up, we are going to look at the value of honey. After all, we can’t talk about bees without talking about honey…

Next week, The Value of Honey. Stay tuned by following us on social media or signing up to our newsletter

Follow along and join in with your own green themed bee stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Top Bar Tuesday: Tanzania

Top Bar Tuesday:
Tanzania

November 15, 2022

A group of women standing together smiling and facing the camera
Play Video about Lucia Alex, a female beekeeper from Tanzania, is smiling and shyly looking away from the camera

Lucia's Story

Lucia is part of the Jikomboe Women’s Beekeeping Group,  a project in partnernship with Emmanuel International on Kome Island in Tanzania. She  is thankful for the opportunity that being part of the beekeeping group provides to improve the quality of her family life. After the birth of her second baby, her husband left her and went to another island. Her life became very difficult as she struggled to survive with two young children. This is a common story in the villages on the island. But Lucia’s is a lovely story of reconciliation and peace as her husband returned and asked her forgiveness and now they live happily together. She has learned how to be a beekeeper and is enjoying being part of the group and excited to see the project grow as they add more top-bar hives and harvest more honey!

Value-added Beeswax Product of the Week

Batiks

Batik-making with beeswax is such a fun creative activity and one very much enjoyed by the women in the Upendo wa Mama Women’s group in Tanzania. Watch Jeni make some here! Carefully carved foam stamps are chosen and dipped in hot, melted wax before stamping in blocks on plain cotton material. The fabric is then dyed and the wax resist creates a beautiful and very unique design. Seamstresses in the group are then able to sew this lovely material into cushion covers, cloth napkins, aprons and more to sell in their shop, The Hive. Yet another way of adding value to beeswax and improving livelihoods! 

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Play Video about Two women making Batiks using beeswax
Four different designs of Batiks laid out side by side. Green , white, blue and green colours
Two women making Batiks using beeswax

29 November – 6 December 2022

Save the Date!
Save your Donations

Celebrate World Bee Day: Sponsor a Beekeeping Project in Tanzania

Bees Abroad is excited to share with you about the Kome Island Women Beekeepers. We are offering you the opportunity to sponsor this amazing project which will give beekeeping training to many women from at least five rural island villages over the next few years. This March, Bees Abroad Partnership Manager, Rachel Monger went to visit the first Kome Island women’s group ….

I received the warmest of welcomes from the Jikomboe Women Beekeepers group when I arrived in the small village of Nyamkolechiwa on Kome Island on Lake Victoria in Tanzania. Over twenty women came together, and it was wonderful to see that some of the mamas were in the group with their grown daughters, who were carrying their grandchildren on their backs!

Kome Island women at their hives
Kome Island women at their hives

All the women are farmers, working incredibly hard to produce enough food from the land to feed their families. The group formed a few years ago with the support of Emmanuel International, setting up a village savings and loans scheme. Recently, the women asked if they could learn how to become beekeepers in order to profit from honey and wax sales … and so now Emmanuel International and Bees Abroad are partnering to train and equip them.

They are a resilient group of mamas … and just so much fun. There was so much laughter throughout the day that I spent with them. Plans were upset by a long hard rain in the morning, but as soon as they could, they worked together to produce an amazing lunch for all of us, laughing all the while! They laughed and sang as they came together for an official group meeting; there were peals of laughter as they presented me with (and wrapped me up in) khangas (traditional cloth wraps) in welcome.

They laughed particularly hard when we got to the hives. For women who wear flip flops and khangas, thick suits with zips, head veils, gumboots and gloves are all very foreign and difficult to figure out! Women were rolling on the ground in laughter as they tried to put on the strange items! And then when they all stood up and looked at each other in this new apparel … it was completely hilarious for everyone!

But for these mamas, life has not been easy or full of laughter. One mama, Nyabwire, shared her story of how as a child, she had to drop out of school due to constant illness. She entered a forced marriage at a very early age, but after the birth of her daughter, her husband died. Later she married again, but he also died before she bore another child. Her late husband’s parents took everything from her, leaving her and her daughter grieving and destitute. With her daughter, Nyabwire moved to live with her brother, but lost everything again when his house burned to the ground. But one of the women said she had never seen Nyabwire laugh like she did on this day we shared. At the end of the day, Nyabwire said that she had never been so happy as she was that day. The benefits of being part of a group like this are more than we realise.

Another woman in the group is a grandmother, and she is struggling to care for eighteen grandchildren in her care … life is not easy, and she has been tired and burdened. But she stood to speak at the meeting and her joy was in her smile! In coming together and learning together, they are finding so much joy.

There was more joy at the hives that evening as for the very first time, the women saw honey on the comb in their hives! As we celebrate World Bee Day this year, we are celebrating these women. We are looking forward with them to future harvests of honey which will help them to pay for medical and school expenses, helping the health and education of their children. We are looking forward to celebrating greater yields of crops in their pollinated fields. We are looking forward to more joy!

Celebrate with us this World Bee Day and consider sponsoring these and other women on Kome Island through this project

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Meet Anastazia Charles – she is one of our Beekeepers for Life in Tanzania

Tanzania

Jikomboe Group, Nyamcolechiwa, Kome Island, Tanzania

This week, as part of our “Meet the Beekeeper” series we would like you to meet Anastazia Charles, from the Jikomboe Women’s Beekeeping group in Tanzania. Anastazia lives in the small village of Nyamkolechiwa on Kome Island, on Lake Victoria.

“The women didn’t have any knowledge of beekeeping and were afraid of the bees, but now, they are very bold and are ready to work very hard to ensure the project is successful.”

(Justina Nswilla, local EI trainer for Jikomboe Group)

Anastazia is 57 years old and has seven children and four grandchildren. She works hard, growing food for her family to eat. Before joining the beekeeping group, she relied on selling “pombe” (homemade beer), but was unhappy, knowing it was not a good thing to do. She is now delighted to be part of Jikomboe (“Self Liberation”) group and looking forward to raising better capital through selling honey, and then being able to start other small businesses. Her hope is that this will enable her children and her grandchildren to go to school.

Anastazia recently attended her first beekeeping training with the group of twenty other women from her small community on this island in Lake Victoria. There is very limited infrastructure on the island and most of its people (the ‘Wazinza’) are subsistence farmers. Faced with a continual decrease in their crop yields and degradation of their natural ecosystem along with other poverty-related issues affecting health and education, there is a need for change.

Anastazia and the other women are excited about being empowered to enact this change! They are working together to learn beekeeping with trainers from Bees Abroad local partner, Emmanuel International (EI), and have hung their first 40 hives. The women are taught to incorporate beekeeping with conservation agriculture techniques, which combined with bee pollination will increase their crop yield and food security. They are also receiving training and support to establish and tree nurseries to improve their environment and raise extra income through sales.

Anastazia and the other women in the group are truly becoming beekeepers for life!

If you would like to help more women like Anastazia support themselves and their families through beekeeping, please donate to the Beekeepers for Life Campaign during the Big Give Christmas Challenge (Nov 30 – Dec 7) when your donations will be doubled!