The Mabinti Centre was established in 2009 to empower women recovering from fistula surgery by providing them with vocational skills and entrepreneurial training to start their own business. The Mabinti centre also offers employment to graduates of the programme.
Mabinti products made by the ladies at the Centre have become a well-known brand for quality handmade bags, accessories and toys in Tanzania and abroad. Income generated from the sales of the products is supporting the operational costs of the Centre and it helps CCBRT in identifying and treating more women suffering from fistula in Tanzania.
The Mabinti Centre is part of CCBRT’s holistic model of care for women recovering from obstetric fistula. Fistula is a childbirth-related injury caused by prolonged or obstructed labour without timely medical intervention.
The consequences of fistula are life-shattering: women with fistula suffer from chronic incontinence and 80% of women lose their babies during childbirth. As a result of the injury, these women are often abandoned by their families and rejected from their communities, forced to live in shame and isolation.
For 4 months, the women are trained at the Mabinti Centre in technical skills including screen-printing, sewing, batik, beading and crochet. To accompany these activities, women also learn and develop critical entrepreneurial skills, such as budgeting and communications, to thrive as business owners.
The Mabinti Centre also provides a safe, supportive environment for women to reflect on the psychological impact of fistula, rebuild their self-esteem and recover together. In this supportive setting, women learn and reinforce critical life skills, such as decision-making, HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning and nutrition. All of these skills allow the Mabinti graduates to leave the Centre with the confidence to become successful, independent, and healthy members of their communities.
After the training programme, each graduate is supplied with a business starter kit containing a sewing machine, scissors, a supply of fabric and a calculator. The women then return to their communities, equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to start their businesses and rebuild their lives. The Mabinti Centre hopes its graduates earn a minimum income of 80,000 TZS or $36 per month, providing support for themselves and/or family.
The Mabinti Centre’s model is strategically designed to maximise positive impact and sustainability. For one year following the training programme, Mabinti graduates are provided support and follow-up by the Mabinti Centre to help their business models to become sustainable, and to answer any questions the graduates may have. The Mabinti trainers conduct home visits together with local authorities as a follow-up but also to ensure these women are well (re-)connected in their community.
The Mabinti Centre extends its reach and impact through its close coordination with the CCBRT’s subsidized Hospital. Twice each week, a Mabinti graduate has been employed to visit the Hospital in Dar es Salaam to teach fistula patients and mothers of children with disabilities how to crochet. These visits enable the women at CCBRT’s Hospital to learn a new skill that is both therapeutic and practical.
The Mabinti Centre’s unique financial model supports the sustainability of its training programme. Mabinti Centre employs several of its graduates to train new students, as well as to design and create beautiful hand-made goods for purchase from their showroom. The revenue from goods sold at the showroom is reinvested into the centre to cover operating costs. With this emphasis on sustainability, the Mabinti Centre bolsters its ability to continue helping former fistula patients transform into thriving, confident and independent women.
The Mabinti Centre is focusing on expanding its revenue-generating activities to support the training of more fistula survivors and provide more women with a sustainable income. Mabinti aims to train 24 trainees annually.