Neema Crafts is much more than just a place of work for our staff, it is a community of friends who enable each other to live more abundant and enriched lives.
We have a dedicated chaplain who is available throughout the week for counselling, advice and prayer. Our pastor also runs (non-compulsory) weekly Bible studies for our staff and helps to organise a staff two-day retreat every year. The retreat is held at the end of each year and it is a wonderful time to relax and reflect on the year together as we hear visiting speakers from across Tanzania. It is also a chance for sports and fun team-building activities.
How can you dance if you can't hear the music? All musicians and dancers in this spectacular African Dance Troupe are deaf. The lead dancer sets the rhythm followed by the rest of the dancers. The drummers and Mirimba follow this beat. It's a very difficult way to perform but unless you look very closely you won't notice the difference.
Neema Crafts has its very own deaf football team who play regularly against hearing sides from across Iringa Town. Communication on the pitch is obviously more of a challenge between deaf footballers, but despite this disadvantage the team has fared very well against hearing sides. The side is ably captained by Ali (also our Kitchen Leader) who arranges fixtures and ensures everyone has the right kit.
Good mobility is key to enabling staff to engage with all aspects of normal life and to be more fully part of their community. Neema Crafts provides all staff with bikes, hand-trikes and wheelchairs, where these are required. Sadly, many disabled people across the region do not have access to these modes of self-transportation, which is why Neema Crafts is working in partnership with the PET, MN - Twin Cities to distribute hand-trikes to scores of people with disabilities from across the region.
Many of our staff at Neema have to pay a hefty percentage of their income out as rent. Given that they often have wider family members reliant on their income too it is often very difficult for them not to live in a hand-to-mouth way. The Neema Housing Committee is looking for ways to help staff to buy land and build their own properties so that they can begin to establish more security for their future. This will involve helping staff to save money and also giving grants to help our staff own their own homes.