‘I try to share what I have with those less privileged’
2017-06-29 11:07:08 -
You were recently elected president of the Association of Tanzanians in Ireland (ATII). What motivated you to put yourself forward for this position?
I was asked by some of my fellow Tanzanians to contest, and I think it was also largely due to the need of a good leader to drive the association to the great lengths and achieve what Tanzanians in Ireland want. 
I have been doing this role on a pro-bono basis for a number of years helping the government of Tanzania through our embassy in London on different issues from writing reports, handling confidential matters and much more.

Can you tell us something about your background?
I am from the Kilimanjaro region in Tanzania, but I grew up in the suburbs of the capital Dar Es Salaam. I love where I grew up, it was what you would call a nice, normal middle-class suburb.
I’ve had a privilege of studying in Tanzania and also in Ireland … The education I received in Tanzania prepared me for my adult life and career in Ireland. I enjoyed the practical side of my education more, which I believe has helped me with my social skills. My parents were a great support, too.

What drew you to move to Ireland?
Love - the four-letter word. I was in college studying journalism, majoring in PR and advertising, and at the same time focusing on my calling to become a nun, when suddenly everything changed after falling head over heels for an Irish man and his charms. He later became my husband and he still charms me to date. And that’s how I ended up in Ireland.

How has the move to Ireland helped you in your life and career?
Ireland has offered me great opportunities. I started my adult life here with a career in banking up to management level, then the charity sector where I helped in providing refurbished computers and ICT training in Tanzania.
I would also like to think I help Ireland in so many ways, too. A few years back I started an education programme to help promote positive integration where I give talks and motivational speaking in schools and universities formal and informal events.
As president of the ATII, I work closely with the Tanzanian community here and other communities and solve issues that affect them. I also offer advice to Irish businesses who have an interest in investing in Tanzania, and advise those who take cultural tours and volunteering opportunities in Tanzania.

What drives you to improve life in Tanzania? In what areas?
I grab every opportunity presented to me with great appreciation because I know sometimes God uses people to reach out to others hence I try to share what I have with those less privileged. I give much of my income to different people, charitable projects and social enterprises.

Can you tell us more about those charitable projects and enterprises?
I run an education programme that promotes good ideas from the developing world in Ireland. Simple ideas like co-operation, creativity, thinking outside the box, third-way economics, social solidarity, up-skilling and the principles of fair trade. These ideas can be seen in the industries like clothes up-cycling and jewellery making that we support in Tanzania. 

You are a multi-talented person, with published books like Poems for the Soul to your name. What made you want to start writing poetry?
I express myself better through writing. Also my late father, he wrote scientific poems which were published in American poetry journals. One of his poems prophesied how electricity was going to be in Africa, which became a reality, and I am very proud to know my father played part in this.

Ireland has a history of talented writers.
What better place to be an emerging writer! I had a big turnout for my book launch a few years ago at the Irish Writers Centre. We had writers, academicians, politicians and people from all walks of life. This proved to me that I was in the right country for my passion of writing.

To what do you attribute your success?
It depends what you mean by success. I wouldn’t call myself successful – I am a trier and God loves a trier. I have always had a positive outlook in life, I get on with people and work hard. 
I must give credit to my wonderful parents who nurtured me and my siblings and prepared us to stand on our own feet in life. And of course my own family here in Ireland – my husband is my rock.

Many immigrants are struggling in Ireland. What advice can you give them?
Be focused, be positive and work hard.

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