Helena represents a broad spectrum of women across the country, who have harnessed sufficient confidence to stand their ground and pursue their rights, especially with the available assistance of legal awareness extended to them by paralegals.
These women often share the fruits of their toils for justice with other less fortunate women, and in that process become not only a source of inspiration, but the first step in the journey to transform their lives, and build foundations for the futures of their families.
Tabia Rashidi says her neighbour, Helena, invited her to join the soap-making enterprise because she believed it provided an avenue for changing their lives for the better.
“Helena’s case was a sad episode in her life, and it certainly had a negative effect on us. The successful end of her ordeal brought joy to us because we value her, and always wished good on her. My group colleagues were trained in this trade and paid for the lessons, but I was lucky because when I was invited all I had to do was emulate what they did and that I learned the craft,” says Rashidi.
Laita Ismaili adds that, in the few months they have been in the enterprise have been rewarding; “I feel there’s a bridge I have crossed and today I’m able to use new-found skills to uplift my own life. When we women stand firm our rights cannot be lost, we need to follow Helena’s footsteps and seek the readily-available help from paralegals,” she insists.
“Honestly-speaking, I lived through very difficult times and there were moments when I simply wanted to give up. Deep in my heart, I knew my experience wasn’t what I deserved, and when I was called to explain my side of the story, and eventually rewarded with what was rightfully mine all along I felt tremendous relief”, recalls Helena.
“The tenants that live here, the chickens I raise and the soap-making enterprise all help me live a more comfortable life a far cry from my awful experience”, she adds.
Women empowerment sits at the core of LSF’s Access to Justice Program due to the fact that, most women are victims of social-economic sidelining. In a case such as this, where one woman’s attainment of justice morphs into a huge benefit for other women and consequently contributes to long, honourable efforts of economic transformation and ultimately alleviating poverty.
LSF continues to see the enormous value of having paralegals right at the grassroots level of Tanzanian society, and thus facilitates the program’s sustainability.