It is said that a successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.  Nowhere is this more true than in developing countries which are typically patriarchal in nature, and where women are often relegated to daughter/sister/wife/mother status without much else in the way of a defining persona.

However, things are slowly changing.  Last year, The Toa Nafasi Project commemorated International Women’s Day for the first time.  We joined other local NGOs in downtown Moshi for a day of festivities.

This year, being old pros, we led the celebrations alongside new partner, The Songambele Initiative.  As you guys know, toa nafasi means “provide a chance,” but I bet you didn’t know that songa mbele means “move forward.”  Both of our organizations’ monikers refer first and foremost to supporting those with varying disabilities, but the slogans could just as easily apply to women and girls who are equally marginalized in many communities around the world.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, which falls on Sunday, March 8th, 2020 is “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”  The theme is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign also called Generation Equality which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.  In September 1995, almost 50,000 participants and activists descended upon Beijing, China with “a single purpose in mind: gender equality and the empowerment of all women, everywhere.”

In the years between Beijing and now, lots has changed and for the better.  However, there is still much work to be done in improving attitudes, behaviors, and policies towards women and girls.

Yesterday, in Kilimanjaro, Toa Nafasi and Songambele, among many other organizations, led the march to create awareness and bring about change.  Check out the photos and videos below!  #IWD2020 #EachforEqual 

Following the ubiquitous brass band, Toa Nafasi and Songambele lead the way!


Never in my life have I heard Marietha and Rose C. this LOUD!!


Paraders from the front….


….And paraders from the back


Toa tutors loud and PROUD!!


Upendosia’s sign demands “Equal rights for the development of our country for the present and future generations”


Grace knows she doesn’t need a cape to be a superhero


Doreen U proclaims that “A woman is the pillar of society”


Glory M and Glory C agree that “Women are a powerful force in society”


And because they are empowered, Toa tutors can empower others: “We should give chances to children with learning difficulties, we should not isolate them”


When I look at this picture, the caption that comes to mind is, “Anything is possible when we do it together”