We are constantly amazed by the strong women we meet through our programs. Seeing their resourcefulness and resilience time and time again, we know empowering women is key to solving the world’s big problems.
Today we want to take you to Tanzania and introduce you to Lemmy.
Lemmy is a 51-year-old mother who you will always find smiling and laughing. But she hasn’t lived an easy life.
Lemmy and her husband had nine children. She earned a living as a tailor and farmer while her husband worked at a small shop selling household goods. They lost a teenage daughter to a sudden case of malaria, and later Lemmy lost her husband to diabetes – leaving her alone with the remaining eight children.
Even though she inherited some cows and goats after her husband passed away, she lost most of them to a series of misfortunes.
Despite the adversity, Lemmy fought to support her children and prioritized their education. Any money that Lemmy earned from her tailoring business went directly to supporting her children’s education.
After some time, she and other women from the village formed a savings and lending group with PCI’s Women Empowered Initiative, and her life began to change. Lemmy’s WE group was called Tumaini –“Hope” – and helped her to gain access to small loans to support her children’s education and generate more income.
In January 2014, Lemmy’s community nominated her as a WE Community Facilitator (CF) to support the growing number of WE groups in the village. As a CF, she continued to grow her income and become a true leader in her community. Lemmy mentioned, “I was changing and the community saw this and trusted this.”
Now, Lemmy oversees eight WE groups and helps monitor and support their group activities. She is also involved with Solar Sister, one of PCI’s partners, and works as an entrepreneur to sell and promote the use of solar products.
Lemmy attributes much of her ability to push on and support her children’s education to WE. She continues to encourage local women and men to join groups and gain access to the economic, social, and emotional benefits.
While we celebrate the achievements of women like this every day at PCI, we like to pause each Women’s Day to reflect on how much one woman can create lasting change in their communities.
Learn more here about how we are working with women worldwide to enhance health, end hunger, and overcome hardship.