Vendor Spotlight: Neema Crafts
Neema Crafts showcases the skills and talents of people with hearing impairments and physical disabilities in Tanzania. Through Neema, they craft items such as bags and cushions, providing dignity and hope for over 120 people who previously relied on street begging, or were hidden away at home. Through their work, they are steadily transforming negative cultural stereotypes surrounding people with disabilities.
Neema Crafts provide training for people with disabilities to become skilled artisans from carpenters, to tailors, ceramicists to paper-makers, great chefs, or entrepreneurs starting up their own enterprises. This not only has the effect of changing public attitudes, but also raises trainees’ self-esteem, and gives them access to a sustainable salary, thus raising their standard of living.
Workshops (which have included high-level local government officials, local policymakers and employers) have also helped change public opinion on disabilities, by seeing how capable people with disabilities are when given the chance.
Currently, Neema is working to build a rehabilitation centre that will include a medical practice, therapy rooms, offices and a ward where parents and their children can stay overnight. This will support those with disabilities that require frequent hospital trips but rarely have money to spend on regular transport.