Meet Paulina, a member of the CAMFED Association, CAMA, a Learner Guide and entrepreneur from Chalinze District in Tanzania.
As a Learner Guide, Paulina was trained by CAMFED to lead a study and life skills program. She delivers sessions from the My Better World curriculum to students at her local secondary school, helping marginalized children stay in school and succeed. Having lived through many of the challenges her learners face, Paulina is a huge source of inspiration and support, perfectly placed to deliver the program with real insight and understanding.
In return for her voluntary work as a Learner Guide, Paulina gained access to an interest-free loan through CAMFED’s partnership with the online lending platform Kiva, as well as entrepreneurial training and peer support from the CAMA network. This injection of investment and expertise gave Paulina the opportunity to expand the tailoring business she runs with her husband, Lucian.
“CAMA means a lot to me because it has uplifted me from where I was, a dependent woman, to now having something of my own and to provide for my family.”
Through her loan, Paulina has been able to rent a bigger work space, invest in more sewing machines, and purchase her fabric wholesale. Crucially, she has also taken on another employee and is using her knowledge and experience to train graduate apprentices. Paulina hopes that the students she employs during busy periods will be able to use the skills they learn to improve their job prospects, and even start their own businesses one day.
As her tailoring business continues to grow, Paulina is creating jobs, supporting her family, and developing her own professional education. By passing on the knowledge and skills acquired through her education, other young women are also becoming financially independent, breaking the cycle of poverty in their community.
“Through the profits I was able to build something of my own.”
When Paulina is busy with her work as a Learner Guide, her husband Lucian takes care of the store and deals with customers. He is extremely supportive of all that Paulina has achieved. “My wife now has many business skills and other life skills… [she] is very confident,” he says. As part of the growing network of Learner Guides, Paulina is helping to unlock the self-confidence, resilience and determination of other young women, guiding the next generation of girls in rural Tanzania towards a brighter future.