Meet The Women


Shining a Light Changes Lives


Monika is 40 years old and has 5 kids ages 18, 15, 11, 10 and 5. Her husband left her and her children requiring her to provide for her large family. She was unable to attend school past the 7th grade so her opportunities were few. She found out about Shining a Light and fought for the chance to change her future and the future of her children. She went through our training and learned to make sandals to sell and earn money. She has been trying to figure out how to start a business that would provide enough money to support her and her family and provide her children an education she knew would offer them opportunities she never had. An answer came when a start up sandal business called Poa (which mean cools in Swahili) Products approached her to run their shop and become their Shop Manager. She was a great candidate for the position because of the skills and education she received through the Shining a Light program. Now she is not only running the business but also empowering the women who work under her. She is giving away what she has learned and giving others the chance to be transformed and providing them with the same success as she has found through empowerment. All her children are in school and one is even attending college.

Poa Products is a sandal business here in Arusha that hires HIV widows giving them the opportunity to better their life and the lives of their family’s. Their sandals are made with recycled tires but with an added touch of quality design that make them appealing to the US market. Shining a Light is helping them get started and off the ground, also giving advice from what we have learned. We highly recommend their men’s styles (they have women’s too) so that the women who work for them will have job security.



The Success of Dorcus

Designs By Dorcus

Dorcus-Jwlry-150x150Meet Dorcus a graduate of the Shining a Light “Women to Work” program. Dorcus was married and had three daughters. Her husband died when she was about 29, leaving her alone with her land that her husband inherited and trying to figure out how to raise 3 children. With the land it would be possible but her husband’s family kicked her and her children off their land and took it from them. This was her children’s inheritance but being all females they were bullied, mistreated and then removed from the family. This is a problem that often happens to widows in Tanzania.

She moved her family to Arusha and was working as a house girl, washing clothes, cleaning house and cooking. She made very little money but she was fortunate to live with a woman who taught her how to bead and make jewelry. Her formal education was minimal until she was given the opportunity to come and train with Shining a Light. She believed she could better her life and the life of her three daughters through our training.

The “Women to Work program gave her training to bead sandals, work with leather, learn English, health care, money management and take business classes. As she trained with us she still worked on her jewelry and began creating beautiful items that we now buy from her, allowing her to increase her Jewelry business. When she graduated from the Shining a Light “Women to Work” program she opened Designs by Dorcus and not only made gorgeous jewelry but also Maasai sandals. She sells her items to us that we now display here on our website. She also sells her products locally in Arusha, Tanzania. Now all her daughters are in school, two in college, studying accounting and veterinarian medicine. The youngest is still in high school but knows that college is in her future.

By purchasing this jewelry you continue to help Dorcus and her daughters. You will also allow her to hire other women to help produce her products and empower them with the knowledge she received through our program.