A health and beauty academy empowers Tanzanian women to use their skills to employ themselves
Flawless skin is what every woman dreams of and on many occasions women have done crazy things to attain this for it is a vital component of every woman’s looks.
From hydration to clean eating women are religious about their skin care regimen as they wash, tone, and moisturise in the morning and at night sometimes to the annoyance of their spouses.
Several skin care studios have opened in recent years to take care of the growing demand from the ever growing number of women who seek professional skin care and make up.
However, in most of these facilities those who take care of the valued looks are not trained and if at all they are trained then they were trained abroad.
On many occasions it is a gamble that has left many a woman with regrets, from the choice of the cosmetics to the handling, the damage is sometimes irreparable.
But even with such growing demand and void, beauty therapists are difficult to come by and even those that are on the market locally are not trusted by high end clientele that they seek to serve.
Worse still, the African woman with a dark skin seems to have been forgotten because not many cosmetic lines put them into the picture when coming up with beauty products.
In 2016 the Manajo Beauty Academy in Dar es Salaam opened its doors to the first batch of students who enrolled for beauty therapy with the objective of filling this void.
And finally, two weeks ago, the first batch of therapists graduated at a colourful ceremony at the Makumbusho Village.
According to the founder of the academy, Shekha Naseer, the 120 young women received certificates and Diplomas in Beauty therapy and hair dressing.
“It is an undeniable fact that beauty and fashion industry is one of the leading sectors that employs thousands of women today, yet it remains very informal. Many of the women who work in the salons across the country are not trained at all, and yet they are the ones that many men and women go to for their valued looks, they simply survive by the grace of guess work!
She adds that this can sometimes be very costly with quite a price to pay should the results backfire.
Speaking at the ceremony Shekha Nasser says it was with this vision that she decided to set up a state-of-the-art beauty academy.
The academy, which is affiliated with the City and Guild of London UK, offers level two diploma in beauty therapy, manicure and pedicure, and make up artistry
She says the Manjano Beauty Academy is a health and beauty school that seeks to empower young women in Tanzania to use their skills to employ themselves.
“We mentored, coached, trained and prepared trainees for the labour market providing them with marketable and employable skills in the beauty industry. The government can’t employ all graduates; neither can the private sector at the moment, so vocational training is key to helping more young women gain marketable skills,” said Shekha.
According to her, the young women have been well trained by the best that is available in the industry through hands-on approach to make sure they achieve both personal and institutional objectives.
“I believe these graduates will change the industry significantly, like how Korea and Philippines is known for best skin care products and professional therapists, in the future Tanzania will be known as Africa’s best in cosmetics for the African skin, from facial mask made from Zanzibar seaweed to powders having natural organic ingredients,” adds Shekha who is also the founder of Manjano Foundation.
The academy has taken off on the right footing as their curriculum has been validated by the national examinations council of Tanzania (Nacte). Catherine Saninga is a makeup artist who is one of the success stories. She has opened up a bridal studio where she caters for tens of women on a daily basis.
According to her she now earns more money in a week than what she used to earn in a month while she was employed.
“The difference is huge from when I was employed, I have a salon, I can educate my son and I have a home of my own,” says Catherine.
And just like her, Enna Kiondo, who was in the first batch of graduates has also opened a makeup studio in Mwanayamala, a suburb in Dar es Salaam where she says she doing quite well.
“The training has been a revelation because it differentiates our services from those that are offered by untrained men and women in the streets. These services are in most cases disastrous,” says Enna.
For her part, Anna Michael Sawe believes that the only way that women can become independent is by owning their own businesses because even at their places of work they are always still down in the pecking order.
“Gone are the days when women had to wait for their husbands to bring home food, we need to train ourselves to gain marketable skills so that we can own some income,” says Anna.
To most of these girls the sky is now the limit as they see endless potential in the beauty industry because every woman bears the desire to look their best.
In 2015, through the LuvTouch Manjano products Shekha launched the Manjano Dream Makers, an initiative that is meant to empower young women with entrepreneurial skills.
In just two years since founding the Manjano Foundation, the Manjano Dream-Makers women’s network has gained a footing in seven major cities and towns in Tanzania, and this being an opportunity for not only delivering cosmetics door-to-door, but financial empowerment for un-employed women.
To-date, there are 360 ‘Manjano Dream-Makers’ who hope to improve their wellbeing and that of their families by selling ‘LuvTouch Manjano’ products.
“Today we are proud to have the 2016/2017 batch with us and I must admit that the response that we have got is that they are all doing very well save for a few cases. Our objective is to train 5,000 women across the country in the next five years.”
In the last two phases the foundation has trained women in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Mwanza, Arusha, Mbeya, Dodoma and Mtwara with more regions set for consideration in the near future.