Artisan Spotlight: Asneth Jackson

1_Asneth Jackson PortaitPhoto Courtesy of WomenCraft

Asneth Jackson is a skilled artisan working with WomenCraft, one of the wonderful artisan groups we work with at The Little Market. The area she lives in has been plagued by conflicts, which have caused large-scale refugee streams from neighboring Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Following Tanzanian culture of welcoming guests and supporting people in need, she has in the past hosted refugees in her home and introduced them into the local weaving culture. Keep reading to see her admirable story from the WomenCraft team

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.

Asneth with Artisan Colleagues - WomenCraftPhoto Courtesy of WomenCraft

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 has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and it is her goal to continue growing with WomenCraft and to become a successful businesswoman. 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!”  

We loved learning Asneth’s story! To see our collection from artisans like Asneth at WomenCraft, visit our site!

A special thank you to Asneth, Ueli Litscher, Kara Hook, and the WomenCraft team for contributing to our World Refugee Day series!

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