Seretti's Story


'She should be killed, she can't work, she can't help out at home, she can't go to school, get a medicine to kill her.' That's what they told my father. I was two weeks old when it happened. A witch doctor came to my house at night, took me from my bed and put me into a blazing fire in the room next door. I was only saved by my uncle, who smelt the burning and came to find out what was happening. My legs had been burnt off past the knee and I was so badly injured that the doctors had to amputate them at the hip. After eight months in hospital I was well enough to return home.

'No I will not kill her, she is my child' was my father's reply to the people around him. People saw how disabled I was and though I would only be a burden on my family. I learnt to move around in a bucket, as I didn't have a wheelchair and at the age of ten went to primary school after finding support with the church. I passed my exams and then decided to go to a secondary school in Iringa. It was then that I first heard about Neema Crafts.

Unfortunately in 2003 I became very ill with stomach problems and I had to stay at home for 2 years. I couldn't work, as I was too sick. I had operations on my stomach, and when I recovered I went back to school and completed O Levels. I passed these well, but unfortunately my father couldn't afford for me to continue my education. After that I returned home to Mbeya where I did nothing for a year, which I found really difficult. I needed something to do, I needed to make something. So I decided to come back to Iringa and look for work. I spent 2 months looking and as there was no space at Neema I took a computer studies course for 3 months. However by the time I had finished the course, I was able to start work at Neema in the shop. In 2010 I trained as a tailor, as well as helping out in the guesthouse and shop at the weekends. Working here means I get something, I have food, clothes and independence. I can fight for myself now and I am not dependent on anyone else. Before how I couldn't even buy a drink for myself without asking someone for the money first. But now I have that opportunity. I am very happy and really enjoy my work. In the future I hope help other disabled people like me, maybe in a shop or a hotel, I don't know, but I want to help others.