Our production is based in the remote village of Ntagatcha, Tanzania. Until recently, Tanzanian education was not free and many families were unable to afford to put their children through school. If families were lacking funds for education, the male children would have been given priority. The girls would stay home to cook, clean, and watch their younger siblings. Even for girls who were fortunate enough to go to school, life was challenging. Both the primary and secondary school examination processes are very difficult. Students must pass on their first attempt or they are not permitted to continue their education. Consequently, many village women were unable to graduate secondary, or even primary school.
TENZI gives these women hope for a brighter tomorrow by training them as seamstresses and giving them other useful life skills. After their training is completed, they are given the option to start their own local tailoring business and/or work for the TENZI brand that has a broader market then local business can offer them. The women are empowered by being able to provide for themselves and their families in a way that wasn’t possible before. The women make high quality garments that are full of personality and flattering yet dignified. In short, you empower the women by purchasing their work and they empower you with the products.
Tenzi Chacha has always had a passion for creating things. She began sewing at the age of six and became interested in fashion design in the sixth grade. Being born to a Tanzanian father and an American mother, she always had a deep love of the East African culture yet appreciated the more modern American lifestyle. After high school she spent a year volunteering at City of Hope (a children’s home in Tanzania). During her time there she was inspired to empower village women though her love of fashion design. In 2015 she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing and a minor in Fashion/Textiles. Afterwards, she searched for jobs in the American fashion industry, but eventually she felt that God was calling her to move to Tanzania to start a project designing clothing and teaching women how to sew.
Tenzi Chacha packed up her things and moved to The City of Hope. She began with four students working on treadle sewing machines and using a charcoal iron because there was no electricity.
Thanks to generous donations, the students were able to begin learning to sew with electric machines. However, the only available place to use them was a gazebo where the outside elements often interfered.
NYC Fashion Show
Bob Sauerberg (CEO of Conde Nast) and his sons wanted to help women in developing nations after the passing of his wife. From this vision was birthed the “Stacey Sauerberg Initiative” as a part of City of Hope. At the launch party for this event, TENZI products were for sale and several exclusive pieces walked the runway.
After a long wait, our classroom was connected to the grid. We are now able to work indoors using electric sewing machines and irons.
Outside Product Sales
We began selling products through several different retail shops.
We started training our students to operate an industrial overlock machine, which greatly improves the quality of the garments that we produce.
Opened Online Shop
Products went from only being sold in limited physical locations to being available online.
October 19, 2019
Come and see our products in action as a part of The City of Hope’s fundraising event “Festival of Hope.” Our products will walk the runway and be for sale at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, VA from 4-6pm. The evening promises to be full of African culture and enrichment. For more details please click here.