Our visit to Tanzania was timed to coincide with International Women’s Day this year.   A real chance to show that there are women who are inspiring, despite living in some of the world’s poorest communities.   It has been a real honour to meet them this week and has once again reignited my desire to keep on shouting really loudly about how incredible African women are.

It has also reinforced my belief that women the world over are all identical.   Some may have more material things than others.  Some may have a nicer house or a more extensive wardrobe.  But at the heart of us all is a desire to provide for our families.   To support them financially and emotionally and to do the best by our children.

So for International Women’s Day 2014 I give you the following women who I hope might inspire you as much as they have me this week:

 Claudia was written about by Annie after we met her on day one.

Mother, grandmother, business woman, mentor. In March 2013 Claudia was producing 20 litres of liquid soap a month which she sold to friends and family. Producing soap was a hobby that earned her a bit of money.

Lucy’s story was told by Penny after we fell in love with all of her amazing creations

Lucy is a woman with a mission. She wants to help others. She is a teacher by profession, like me she fell out of the profession when her husband needed to move with work, they moved from the country, to the city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

And Bertha whose story I told after we met her and bought samples of all of her products

Bertha is an incredible woman.  As she expands and grows her business she also expands the building where she works.   Herself.   Building the extra rooms necessary to produce the healthy flour, three types of wine, and garlic paste.    Now teaching other women the skills she has learned she is training the next generation of food producers

Joyce is the lady I talked about last night.

Joyce is a poultry producer and currently has a clutch of 300 chicks.   Thanks to the training and support she has received from The Gatsby Trust next week she will double that with another 400 and be able to use the new building she has built behind her house.

Eliafura blew us away with her stunning batik and tie dye skills

Today we were incredibly lucky to meet Eliafura, a batik artist. She tells me her name means happiness, can you guess why?

And finally Forestiana whose story Annie told yesterday

Forestiana has grown her business with help from the support received through The Gatsby Trust, in a programme funded by Sports Relief, from producing 20 litres per month to 250 litres. She’s designed her own labels and had them printed, sourced bottles, corks, seals and more

All ladies that are prove #lastingchange is really working and changing not just the life of the person receiving support from a project funded by Sport Relief, but that it is helping entire communities.

And on that bombshell:

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  • #IWD2014 ggreat to see so many posts highlighting true female role models

  • Loved that, I have batiks from there I use as sarongs – bottom of my drawers somewhere – would happily buy some soap and garlic paste. How wonderful to see these women finding a market to provide for their families and inspire the younger generation too – love it – Jambo xxx

  • I have absolutely loved reading these stories. Thank you so much for so diligently sharing their worlds with us.

  • TOTALLY put me down to buy some batik! You ladies are BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing such inspirational stories with such enthusiasm xx

  • Amazing women and so are the 3 of you, the video is fab xxx

  • I am so proud of you all and the women you have supported and encouraged. You are right, women are more alike than different around the globe. Let me know when you are selling soap or batik, my name is down. Hayley x