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Nafika, Tanzania: "I see a future well educated woman thriving in life"

Nafika is a 32-year-old single mother living in the Shengena West watershed. She is raising a 15-year-old daughter while working as a Tanzania farmer and entrepreneur and being an active member of a Purpose Group. 

As a farmer she is involved in poultry and fish farming, caring for chickens and managing a fish pond. Nafika then sells the products in her village market. She also cultivates the land to feed her and her daughter and to earn an income. Nafika has formed an entrepreneurial partnership with her sister, starting a wholesale shop in a nearby city. She also owns a sugarcane juice maker, which she rents out to restaurants in the city.

Before joining the Purpose Group, Nafika relied only on agriculture and the wholesale shop, which had not yet started to turn a profit. The unpredictable nature of entrepreneurship and climate change sometimes left her struggling to pay her daughter's school fees. 

As she explains:  "As an entrepreneur, there are months when the business is good, and there are months when the business is bad.

Tanzania farmer

“This is also true as a Tanzania farmer; there are times when I got small yields because of drought. When facing these challenges, I delayed my payment of school fees for my daughter. That made me worry, as my wish was to see my daughter get a quality education.”

Nafika decided to join a Purpose Group a few years ago. She had seen other parents in her community confront the challenges of paying for school fees. When she saw children having to leave school, she noticed how that often led to girls getting married too early. She saw the Purpose Group as a way to avoid a similar fate for her daughter.

Hearing the testimony of other Purpose Group members helped influence her decision. She joined, encouraged by the safety of savings, the accessibility of loans, and the valuable entrepreneurship training they offered.

“When I joined the group, I only expected to improve my economic status,” she recalls. “It did not come to my mind that my move was a source of empowerment not only to me but also to my daughter and my friends in the village who are learning a lot from me. I bought shares and accessed loans that significantly contributed to the growth of my businesses.

“That was when I invested in a sugar cane juice maker which was rented to a restaurant in the city with the help of my sister. This created an additional income stream. After repaying the loan, I took another to renovate my family's abandoned fish pond and start fish farming. The profits from these new ventures, combined with my existing shop, set the stage for my success,” Nafika narrates.

“The group has increased my morale to work hard to get money so that I can invest my weekly share. Also, when I take loans, I work very hard to get money to pay them back. The group has ensured that I get school fees on time, and I am able to get money to attend to my daughter's basic needs." 

She adds: "Being her only parent, I aspire to provide for all her essential needs. As her mother and friend, I find joy in the fact that she turns to me in times of need. I am grateful to fulfill them.”

As Nafika becomes financially empowered, she also secures a better future for her daughter. In three years of partnership with Plant With Purpose Tanzania she learned the importance of discipline, hard work, and saving, values she instilled in her daughter. During holidays, Nafika’s daughter contributes to the family's tasks, learning the ropes of feeding the chickens and caring for the fish as a Tanzania farmer. 

“I make sure my daughter sees what I do and gets involved. Now she knows the ratios we use in feeding the chickens and the fish, and I look forward to teaching her every work that I do," Nafika shares, reflecting on the joy of passing on knowledge to her daughter.

“When I look at my daughter, I see a future well educated woman thriving in life. I don't want to dictate her career path, but I aspire for her to excel in whatever she chooses. I am committed to ensuring she receives education at the highest level, and for that, I am truly grateful to God.”

About the Author

Philippe shares the stories of people living at the forefront of the climate crisis, who are working to transform their ecosystems and communities. He loves emphasizing the human experience, and keeping conversations about the environment centered on the communities most affected by it. Philippe has led storytelling trips to Mexico, Thailand, Colombia, Tanzania, South Africa, Haiti, and a number of other countries. He has previously served in similar roles at Liberty in North Korea and Mobility International.

Philippe obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara. He furthered his studies by earning a Master of Arts in International Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at University of Oregon. Philippe is also an illustrator, podcaster, and digital artist. Outside of work, Philippe loves spending time with his wife and their three kids.

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