Mining company to help women earn money “to sustain their lives”.
Women living in the villages and hills of the Mererani tanzanite mines are set to be trained in how to make artefacts and decorative objects using the gemstone, according to Tanzanian newspaper The Citizen.
Leading tanzanite mining company TanzaniteOne is spearheading the scheme and has said it will train entrepreneurial women from traditional Tanzanian villages to make decorative objects “using simple technologies” which it says will help them earn money to sustain their lives.
Halfani Hayeshi, a spokesperson for TanzaniteOne, said it would be targeting women in the villages Naisinyai, Oloshoyokie and Naepo.
"This project is aimed at empowering the women financially because they do not have other means to earn enough money to meet their daily needs," said Hayashi.
Where women in the villages have traditionally made artefacts using beads, they are now looking to the rarer tanzanite gems as a more lucrative trade. Women who have already trained under the scheme – 12 to date – have been provided with tools and modern gemstone cutting machines.
Hayeshi added the Maasai women selling beads and other traditional artefacts had struggled because of the poor quality of the beads, jewellery and objects that they were selling.
Under the project, TanzaniteOne will provide the women with raw gemstones and that an expert in gemstone cutting and polishing from the United States. They have also hired a female trainer, Naomi Saran, to work with the women and give them advice on items to design and make.
Saran ix expected to return to the Mererani area in October to check in on her protégés.
The Tanzanite Foundation has teamed with TanzaniteOne on the scheme. Its founder Henley Henning said the project will empower women to help them improve their economic prospects.