CASE STUDY: Nasiri Yasin Mwinyikondo attends the Community Aid and Small Enterprise Consultancy (CASEC) Youth Centre in Arusha, Tanzania.
My name is Yasin and I’m 22 years old. I live in Arusha town at Daraja Mbill. I got my secondary certificate at school but didn’t get a chance to continue with higher education. This was a big disappointment and a challenge for me. Without a good education life is hard.
Then I found that I had a talent in fine art and crafts. So I started this job so that I could help my family and myself. When I started this work in 2009 my parents were not sure of what I intended to do or whether I could manage it.
I use banana plant leaves to make picture frames, hand bags, pen holders and many other products. It is not as easy as I thought it would be. People don’t value this sort of work – it makes is hard for artists to establish themselves. Many Tanzanians don’t value things made from traditional materials.
In 2012 I decided to join CASEC’s youth centre so that they could help me advance my talent and promote my products. When I joined I found more interests because there I met with a lot of youths with different ideas and talents. This has improved my determination and I shared ideas with other people. I’ve improved my skills and the quality of my products.
I thank CASEC because they have helped me to promote my work through my participation in Nane Nane exhibitions in Arusha. This has helped me to be known by the community and potential customers who have helped me to improve my products by using other materials and not just banana leaves. It has encouraged me a lot and helped me know how to deal with different customers with different tastes and interests. Also, I learned that not all people will accept your products, they will discourage you.
There are still problems. I don’t have a special show room where customers can easily visit me. And it’s hard to fix the right price for your products which will both attract customers and enable you to make a good profit when you take into consideration the amount of time spent on producing one item.
But, I can see that life has changed in the last year. It is better now.
CASEC run the Youth Centre in Arusha city as part of their Youth at Risk programme which aims to support youths who have not had the chance to finish their formal education at secondary school. They have the opportunity to participate in classes on all sorts of subjects from languages to music and sports. As part of their participation they are expected to undertake mandatory training in HIV and AIDS. In 2012 they expect 600 youths to pass through their doors. The youth centre is the same size as a small bungalow.