“The whole world is filled thanks to us. Let us not think little of ourselves.
We are perfect.
We are strong.”
Winny Saigod (Mama Pelis), Safina Group Member
In 2017, the Safina Group was established at QEA as a way to provide a place where women struggling to find peace and to feed and educate their families could be supported, both through friendship, common purpose, knowledge building, income generation projects and other kinds of support.
‘Safina’ is the Swahili word for ‘ark’, and as Winny explains,
“Noah’s Ark was built to save humanity from the flood. We decided on this name because we see this group as an ark, saving us from where we are now, and delivering us to the next steps in our lives.”
Many of the women have children at the school, some of whom it supports through their education. The group is a huge resource to the school, not only through the increased support they are able to give to their own children, but the important part they play in visioning what the school can be and all the hard work they put in to it.
They are currently spearheading a permaculture design for the school land after three of them completed a training* in the practice at Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania. The aim is to develop the land in a way that aligns with the processes of nature, so that it will produce lots of varied and nutritious food, protect and nourish the environment and make some money too. They also plan to have the school farm become a demonstration site for teaching the wider community these principles.
“Long ago men were in charge, but now we are building our own houses.”
Emma Sekwiha (Mama Faith), Safina Group Member
“I am standing here because I have passed through so many challenges, but because I am a woman I have overcome. I am standing here because I can.”
Maria Ndugai (Mama Isaya), Safina Group Member
“I was left by a man. I was in really hard times. He doubted that I could do it alone. I have put two kids through to secondary school and I have 2 in primary now. He doubted me but I did it and I can do it.”
Rehema Malole (Mama Asha), Safina Group Member
“I am strong, I have animals, I farm, I have businesses. If I need a loan I get it. Women can do it!”
Mach Kingamkono, Safina Group Member
See some more of all the amazing things the group is doing in the gallery below
*Training funded by Mama Hope and the Zimmerman Foundation