I am an educated person, with a certificate for Secondary School and in Commerce from the National Business Education Department. Yet I was unable to find a job for 14 years. The best thing to help you live a successful live here is to have a good job, but in Tanzania, disabled people are not treated equally. Employers don't trust that we can do things and they don't think that we able to do a normal job.
I contracted polio at the age of three, it paralysed my legs and bent them so much that my father took me to Dar Es Salaam to have them straightened. From the age of eight I was taught exercises using callipers and at the age of eleven started school. There were a few disabled children in the school and we were treated the same as everybody else. It was really good. When I achieved my certificate in Commerce I wrote letters to NGOs and Banks, but no one would employ me. So I spent fourteen years staying at home repairing shoes for people. My parents were worried I would never find employment but they prayed that something would happen. In 2005 I was walking through town when my friend called to me and said “Someone called Suzie is wanting to help people with disabilities, maybe she can help you?” I decided to go and find out about Neema Crafts and was employed soon after in the weaving workshop. Now I can afford daily needs and send my children to school. In Iringa people respect now us and see our talents. They thought we could do nothing and could not be employed, but this attitude is changing slowly. I love the work I do, particularly making scarves. I design them on different looms and enjoy seeing the finished product. I know I have a steady income and hope to save enough to one day buy a farm for my family.
Chaula weaves a variety of scarves, napkins and placemats on a small handloom.