Expansion of ACT Mara project with a workshop
by Marjan Schaapman on 23 February, 2016

Female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision is prohibited by law in Tanzania, but still being practiced in some parts of Tanzania. Sometimes mass circumcisions are performed in which thousands of girls are at the same time genitally circumcised, usually in December. The Safe House in Mugumu receives every year, especially around December, a large group of (up to 100) girls who run away from their villages. They know that female circumcision is prohibited by law and learnt from young women who have undergone it, that it is a very painful genital mutilation.

 

The Safe House has an annual influx of young girls who flee from circumcision, but also young women who have been abused and misused. Most of these young girls / women stay six to twelve months in the Safe House. During that period they can learn to sew and tailor in the vocational training centre which was set up in 2015 with financial support of the Van Doorn Foundation. Actually this training is at the same time a distraction for them. Meanwhile, negotiations take place with their parents remembering them of the legal prohibition of female circumcisions. This mediation often leads to the commitment of parents that their daughter does not have to be circumcised, and after which they return to their villages.

 

The first 26 girls have completed their training at the VTC in January 2016. On Facebook we read and saw that a large part of these girls proudly obtained their diplomas and returned to their villages!

 

However, for some of the girls - especially the victims of domestic violence – returning home soon is not an option and for them a longer stay in the Safe House is needed. Especially for those, the ACT Mara Diocese wants, beside the training centre, set up a workshop where these women and girls can get further training, continue practicing, optimize their skills and build up practical experience. In the workshop they can make high quality products for sale on different markets, thus making the Safe House less dependent on donations and thus more sustainable! Ultimately, these girls / women will be able to generate their own income by starting a small home industry.

 

The new project – setting up a workshop - includes both the construction and equipment of the workshop (furniture, machinery, tools). The total cost for the first year is EUR 18,500. The ACT Mara Diocese will pay for the operating costs and the Van Doorn Foundation has been asked to contribute EUR 13,900 to the investment cost, for the construction of the workshop and the purchase of sewing machines and other learning tools.  It is fantastic that we have now received assurances that these costs will be financed from the Addo Kranendonk Fund!


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