Artisan Spotlight: Hadija Jibulilo

Hadija_Happy about her products on delivery day {WomenCraft}Photo Courtesy of WomenCraft

Hadija Jibulilo 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

Hadija lives with her seven children in a remote rural village called Mwivuza in the rolling hills of the Kagera region, one of least developed regions in the northwest of Tanzania. Their traditional mud-house is made from the red soil of the area. Kagera is diverse and rich in culture but has faced instability from conflicts in neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi that have resulted in streams of refugees being settled in camps in the region.

Hadija is a passionate artisan, and she loves to weave. She joined WomenCraft eight years ago as one of the business’s first artisans. Through her weaving, she has become the sole breadwinner of her household. Being part of WomenCraft means that she has access to international markets which generate fair prices and a reliable income. Apart from WomenCraft, there are little to no alternative market opportunities for local artisans. In this regard, being part of WomenCraft also enables Hadija and her artisan colleagues to keep their long-standing weaving tradition and culture alive.

Hadija and colleagues discussing products on delivery day {WomenCraft}Photo Courtesy of WomenCraft

When asked about an accomplishment she is most proud of, Hadija says that:

“I am proud that through my weaving, I am able to send my children to school and to buy decent clothes for us all. Best of all, I am in charge of our finances. I support our family without being dependent on my husband.”

In the Kagera Region, gender roles are still very traditional and women carry most of the household’s workload but are rarely able to manage their income themselves. WomenCraft invested in understanding local gender norms and empowering women through counseling sessions and workshops with husbands. Today, just like Hadija, the majority of women artisans are in charge of their incomes, which are used responsibly for the development of their families’ livelihoods.

We loved learning about Hadija. To see our collection from artisans like Hadija at WomenCraft, visit our site!

A special thank you to Hadija, Ueli Litscher, Kara Hook, and the WomenCraft team for contributing to our series!

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