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Reporting direct from the shed at the bottom of Eliafura’s garden for #iwd2014 #lastingchange

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The projects Sport Relief fund out here in Tanzania provide mentoring, coaching, technical and business training to women in three areas – food production, textiles and soap making. Today we were incredibly lucky to meet Eliafura, a batik artist. She tells me her name means happiness, can you guess why?

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I’m sure you are keen to see how that beautiful blue piece of batik was made? Well here goes, it was hot, I was busy chatting to Eliafura and trying to take photos and capture the sights and sounds in a video which is embedded at the bottom of this post, but I will try to do her stunning work justice, forgive any technical errors!

Welcome to her factory, it is a small shack at the end of her garden, there is a sheltered bench for preparing the material and a shed for storing her materials. Eliafura has trained 4 women in Batik, helping to create #lastingchange
DSC01702Eliafura buys patterened sponges at a market. She dips it in hot wax before applying it to the fabric to create a pattern. The sponges have lovely, intricate patterns which Forestina neatly repeats in straight lines across the fabric.DSC01668Today she is showing a neighbour Louisa how to make Batik, a kind of apprentice. I ask Louisa why she wants to learn and she says she needs to be able to support her family, her children are always asking for more money, there is never enough.

We may only be able to speak through a translator, but I can read the desparation in her body language. I can see the eagerness in her eyes when we say we want to buy some Batik and they don’t have as much as we are willing to buy, she immediately wants to know when we have to leave Tanzania so she can make us more. DSC01682 Eliafura dons her safety gear before adding chemicals to set the dye. Technical training through the Gatsby Trust ensures the women keep healthy and safe at work. All the women we met today had a strong sense of this.DSC01689 The dye she had chosen was a stunning blue.DSC01693The dye and chemical are added to waterDSC01697Eliafura adds the fabric to the mix.DSC01698Look at the gorgeous colour.DSC01700She hangs the batik up on the washing line for 10 minutes. I love this picture. Aly asked me earlier to choose one picture to sum up Tanzania and I chose this one – lush green trees, creative skill, vibrant colour and inspirational women creating #lastingchange. Eliafura looks rightly proud of her achievement.DSC01705She is also proud of her children, her eldest two are boarding at school. All accounts from the men and women we speak to of state schools here in Tanzania are pretty damming and they aren’t free, so for these women helping their children get even the most basic education requires money.

Building a business and a decent income enables them to buy an education that will help their children fulfil their potential, passing on #lastingchange through the generations.

Eliafura’s niece is visiting, she speaks in confident American, having studied abroad, and is about to start an MA. She is incredibly proud of her aunt’s skills, but you can sense she has the ambition of a generation who have had access to a broader education, she will study Finance.

Elifura’s youngest likes to help his mum and threads beads to sell to women who buy the Batik. Co-ordinated beaded accessories are a valuable extra income to Elifura’s batik sales.DSC01713Soon the dye has soaked in enough and set, so Eliafura can remove the wax from the fabric in hot water.DSC01718Then the fabric is washed over and over so the dye doesn’t transfer to the skin. Bearing in mind few people have running water this makes for a labour intensive process, especially in the hot humid sun or the rain we had yesterday.DSC01720Forestiana shares her wares, just stunning!DSC01726We’ve agreed to buy this one, so it is folded up for us.DSC01727

Bagged up and brought to the jeep, then it is a big wave to Eliafura, and off to visit the next utterly inspirational woman.DSC01730

I asked Eliafura about how the project had helped her, she replied she had registered her business, opened a business account, networked with other women to find new markets and share the cost of stalls.

More than anything it had brought her belief in her own skills, she feels technically confident in her craft, she no longer feels nervous about sharing her work and sells it to her local community, to school teachers who traditionally dress in batik and even exports outside Tanzania. It is stunningly beautiful, why wouldn’t people want to buy it!

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All this from a shed at the bottom of a garden, up and down and down a very, very long, potholed and winding road from Dar Es Salaam.

On the video you can hear the lovely bird song, hear Eliafura talk and listen to the rhythmic sounds of the water splashing as she works. A rough cut as I have limited time, but I wanted people to see inside the garden and workshop, and hear Eliafura’s voice this International Women’s Day.

It is International Women’s Day on 8th  March and PennyAnnie and Tanya from Team Honk will be helping Comic Relief raise even more vital funds by highlighting projects that have helped women in Tanzania get jobs, start businesses and secure a future for their families and communities.

Our visit is about demonstrating #lastingchange, we’ll be blogging and tweeting from Tanzania, just one of the places in the world where Sport Relief funding kicks off change, improving not just one person’s life, but giving people a leg up so their families and whole communities benefit from the ripple effect.

How can you help?

Please RT, share and support any updates or blog posts you see with the #lastingchange hashtag.

DONATE You can help create #lastingchange by sponsoring #teamhonkrelay for Sport Relief

GET INVOLVED Join up for your local Sport Relief event here.

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21 Comments

  • Reply Mammasaurus

    Beautiful photos Penny, it was such an amazing day and memories that will stay forever with us.So glad we shared them x

    07/03/2014 at 6:10 pm
  • Reply Katie

    This is Fascinating!!! I did wonder how they made such a large piece of patterned batik and the sponge pattern gave me the answer. I don’t think that I would do nearly as well, but I would really like to try some batik-ing now. This is such a beautiful piece, how will you decide who gets it?

    07/03/2014 at 9:42 pm
  • Reply Amanda

    The batik is stunningly beautiful! I have never seen exactly how it is made so this was fascinating. So much skill and patience and passion for what they are doing – such inspirational women – thanks so much for sharing x

    07/03/2014 at 10:08 pm
  • Reply Inspiring women, making a #lastingchange in Tanzania - darktea

    […] can read more about how Eliafura makes her batiks on Penny’s website. I found it fascinating to read because I made batiks as part of my art GCSE, but they were no […]

    07/03/2014 at 11:47 pm
  • Reply Carolin

    So so beautiful, the colours are amazing and the craftsmanship that went into this is simple incredible. Thanks for sharing it with us, Penny x

    07/03/2014 at 11:59 pm
  • Reply Mummy Barrow

    Bloody love this post. You really captured Eliafura’s spirit and drive. And I am so proud that we got to bring that piece of fabric home with us.

    And the rest of her stock!

    08/03/2014 at 7:49 am
    • Reply The Alexander Residence

      So beautiful wasn’t it 🙂

      08/03/2014 at 10:15 am
    • Reply Eliafura Lazaro Urio

      Thanks for that comments. This gives me more energy to create and produce what my customers want. Are you interested in making business with me? Please do not hesitate. Just mail me OR call +255 789 833 292
      Regards:Eliafura -batik & tie dye designer

      02/09/2014 at 12:38 pm
  • Reply Jen

    What a stunning post Penny. Such beautiful photos and words to tell such an inspirational story. Thank you.

    08/03/2014 at 8:53 am
  • Reply Helen

    Thanks for sharing this story, I’m also sharing it all over social media to help spread the word! Where can we buy the products these women make?

    08/03/2014 at 9:28 am
  • Reply Kirsty

    How fantastic to see the Batik fabric made whilst you were there. Simple projects making a big difference. What an amazing trip.

    08/03/2014 at 10:22 am
  • Reply Stephs Two Girls

    Gorgeous. Love the pics, love the Batik, love the inspirational Eliafura. Wish we could all go visit and buy all her wares! Watching this brings home how hard they are working though – that really is back-breaking stuff. Strong women. x

    08/03/2014 at 10:26 am
  • Reply Actually Mummy...

    They are really beautiful, but what is more so is the drive and energy they have for their craft. What a lovely snapshot of what Comic Relief funding means to real people.

    08/03/2014 at 10:33 am
  • Reply DANIELLE ASKINS

    Wow that is beautiful, and what a big smile she has too! x

    09/03/2014 at 9:12 pm
  • Reply Katie Albury

    Wow…what beautiful creations. My eyes welled up when you said they wished they more to sell to you guys. Such good work and so amazing to hear all about.
    Beautiful photos.

    Katie x

    10/03/2014 at 5:28 pm
  • Reply #WeekToView Nottingham to Tanzania via Dubai and back

    […] pleasure than watching her amazing batik unfold in front of our eyes. Please go and watch the video of her at work, it really makes me happy hearing the birdsong and rhythmic sounds of water splashing as she works […]

    11/03/2014 at 7:36 am
  • Reply It's been emotional #teamhonkrelay

    […] I’ve cycled 50k, walked 20k and even endured David Cameron for 5 minutes, I’ve been to Tanzania, I’ve visited a food bank in […]

    21/03/2014 at 10:49 pm
  • Reply a journey — Mammasaurus

    […] funded project that has helped her transform her own life and others, please visit this post: Reporting direct from the shed at the bottom of Eliafura’s garden for #iwd2014 #lastingchange from The Alexander […]

    22/03/2014 at 8:00 am
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