Ramlat is 27 years old and lives in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.
She is worried about her community. They are very vulnerable to the economic impacts of lockdown which are already threatening their livelihoods.
But Ramlat has taken action and started making facemasks. Ramlat works on the marketing and helps with the design of the facemasks, while the rest of her all female team manufacture them on sewing machines. Making and selling facemasks is stopping the spread of the virus but also generating essential income that will help keep Ramlat and her community afloat.
Ramlat is a community volunteer as part of Restless Development’s Girls Let’s Be Leaders programme in Tanzania where girls learn about their rights and are supported to set up their own businesses. When Ramlat first found out about Restless Development she didn’t have a job. Over the past three years, this project has supported over 500 out-of-school girls to receive entrepreneurial training on how to get a job, start a business and get back into school.
One of these 585 girls is Fatma*. She wasn’t attending school when she first met Ramlat. Fatma’s father and stepmother were isolating her, forcing her to stay home and do chores, despite Fatma’s wishes to go to school like her other step-brothers and step-sisters. When Fatma’s mother found out about this, she took Fatma back and tried to enroll her in school but they didn’t have enough money to pay the school fees.
So with training and advice from Ramlat and other Restless volunteers, she started a fritter business and saved up. With the income she made, she was able to pay her fees, get an education and a ticket to a better future. Fatma is now 16 years old and is happily attending school. Her favourite subject is English.
People think I am a good leader. They tell me that when they see me, they feel inspired. To me, leadership is about solving problems in my community whenever someone needs help. People now recognise me and tell me to apply for a position at our local government. I want to have an even bigger impact and work in Parliament one day.Ramlat
Ramlat has not only transformed the life of Fatma but more than 30 other young people in her community.
*details of Fatma’s story have been altered to protect her identity
Youth power responds.
When COVID-19 reached Tanzania, Ramlat and the other girls from the programme were ready to be leaders, putting their skills from their training to make facemasks. In a crisis, youth power responds.
£15 could support young girls like Ramlat in Tanzania to make and sell 90 face masks.
If you would like to support young people making a living and tackling this global pandemic, make a donation. Almost all of our efforts are currently focused on supporting young people working to stop the spread in their communities.