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Enterprising lady gives back to society

The 30-year old lady is the brain behind Alice Foundation, a non-government organization with an overall objective of improving social and economic advancement of street children in Tanzania, by increasing access to education. The foundation has also the task to cater for maternal matters, newborns health and sexual reproductive health services related to HIV and AIDS.  “Alice Foundation is not here to compete but to work with other NGOs that serve the interests of women and children.

The Foundation has a strategic plan to make significant contributions to Tanzanian women and their families through working closely with the government and donors,” Ms Mwamsojo explains. At first, the foundation targeted street children. However, with other board members, she changed their mind. Alice, who lives and runs her business and her foundation in Ubungo, says she grew up with sympathy for street children she saw.  

“Our foundation started with Ubungo ward because the area is filled with street children, I think it’s due to Ubungo Terminal Bus Station. I got a thought that if I wanted to make a change for the poor souls, I should start at home,” she says. It all started late 2010, Alice, a social worker graduate and a former  sales and market manager, Ms Mwamsojo  left her job at the Syscorp, and opened her Alice Fashion World boutique where she sells  and rent wedding dresses, maid of honour/maids dresses and caters for wedding and provide a rental car services.  

“My boutique is a place where a bride would want to be. We provide all sorts of services,” she explains. Within one year, her business boomed. Despite the little profit she earned, she decided to give back to the  community. “I have been a volunteer for long. So when my business became successful I thought more about a better way to give to the community than start my own foundation.” 

The foundation was established in 2011,  has 10 members and seven volunteers. The organization operates through four main programmes namely: MKUKUTA (National Poverty Reduction Framework), Women Empowerment, Health and Environment and Educating  street children. “We have different projects such as the women empowerment program which has 28 groups of different women.

We also pay school fees for 11 children, and in a week we do a visitation to 276 children, who are underprivileged,” The foundation isn’t a year old yet, but has done a lot without a sponsor. “We don’t have a sponsor. Sources of revenue  for Alice Foundation come from a small stationery station where we provide services like 3-minutes express passport size photographs, photocopy and scanning.

These have helped us to run the office, get lunch money, transportation fee and manage administrative cost.” A mother, a wife and a businesswoman, Alice is still trying to master her time. She says some day she will be the best chairperson of Alice Foundation. 

“I spend a lot of time working as the Managing Director of Alice Fashion World, a chairperson  of Alice Foundation and a designer. Being a blogger, a wife and a mother is not easy because there are times I stay  off  work to have time with my husband and my baby,” she confesses.

Alice’s vision is to increase the number of economically empowered women, progressive communities with well educated children free from ignorance, disease and poverty. It looks like her mission is giving her that. On March 8, this year the Alice Foundation launched a campaign to stop violence against women. The guest of honor was Ubungo Member of Parliament  John Mnyika.

Alice says, apart from funds, the only challenge they face is a lack of commodious  office. They need a bigger office, office tools such as a computer for storing their data. The future is bright for Alice Foundation. In the near future Alice says they are thinking of opening a bank to give women security with their money, and where they get a quick loan, a children’s campaign that will help raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in an earlier stage.

Her message to people is: “People who search for happiness think that money and fame will make their life perfect, that  is not true at all. You have to be thankful for everything you know and own. Just remind yourself that someone in the world has never even had the privilege you have. 

“There is somebody always better than you and always somebody less fortunate than you. Until you find a middle ground and accept what you have, you will not have happiness. Together we can eradicate poverty in our nation. Together we can do this".

ABRAHAM John (23), a second year student at ...

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Author: HASINA MJINGO

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