Elishiwaria, the nursery manager speaking up for her community

Elishiwaria Nassary is a nursery manager from Kirima, Moshi District, Tanzania. After taking part in business and leadership training with Hand in Hand, Elishiwaria used her new skills to open an orphanage and a day care centre. She now looks after 10 children at her day care centre and has employed three staff, including a teacher and two childcare workers.

Through her businesses, Elishiwaria has increased her income five-fold and is now earning USD 428 a month – a remarkable achievement in a country where most people live under the international poverty line of USD 1.90 a day.

Persistence pays off

Elishiwaria’s success did not come easily. The orphanage had been closed for some time, and Elishiwaria had to grapple with reams of government regulations and processes to get it up and running again. “I never lost hope,” Elishwaria explains. “And now I can give hope to orphans and less privileged children, because we give them love, food, shelter and an education.”

Advocating for women

Restrictive gender norms limit the lives of women and girls the length and breadth of the country, but the problem is worse in rural areas, like Kirima. Here, it’s rare for women to own property, get a loan, or even hold a bank account.

Elishiwaria believes with skills and techniques she’s gained she’ll be able to change things for future generations. Already she’s speaking up to demand better hygiene facilities for girls at the local school. “Now I’m in a position to circumvent all odds against women because I’ve acquired confidence. I can speak in public and present my views without experiencing any problems,” Elishiwaria says.

A passion for education 

What’s more, Elishiwaria is using her skills to advocate for a cause she cares passionately about: education. Her greatest achievement is “changing the mindsets of rigid parents who do not want to send their kids to school.” And, when parents claim they can’t afford to send their children to school, Elishiwaria will even pay for the children’s school fees and uniform.