Nyanya Crafts Project: Dar Es Salaam

Tanzanian Alliance: GOIG (Getting Old Is To Grow)

Dar Es Salaam, located on the Indian Ocean of Africa’s eastern coast, is Tanzania’s largest city and seat of government. On its outskirts is a vocational handcraft center called GOIG. An American friend who helps develop craft products fromAfricafor American distribution, such as the successful Rawandan Peace Baskets project at Macy’s last year, told Niepold about GOIG.

GOIG makes beautiful sisal table mats, carpets, hammocks, tie-dyed fabrics and home accessories. It was founded in 1999 by Grace Matemba, a widow with seven grandchildren, who wanted to create a center that would train women in craft production.

In the summer of 2008, approximately 110 grandmothers were trained in beaded crafts, candles, tie-dye cloth and other crafts.  The late Mary Mzeru oversaw their training.  In some workshops, like candle-making, the orphaned grandchildren of these women were trained alongside their grandmothers so that they could continue working together on their crafts back in their homes.

The former Prime Minister of Tanzania, Frederick Sumaye, who is a TNP Board member, met with the grandmothers during their training.  He talked with one grandmother, Deborah Opende, as she worked.  Later, she said, “In my life I never imagined that I would meet the Prime Minister of my country.  Today I did, and I know that miracles are possible.”
Grandmothers continue to make items for sale from the various crafts that they learned.

Training grandmothers in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

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