The project aims to make the women in the region stronger and give them more influence in their family – not least because they are contributing to its financial improvement with what they earn. In addition, the project is helping to combat illiteracy and bring about lasting changes in society.
“These are our bestsellers”, says Pauline Nguineberba, the potter, pointing to a row of neat amphorae under a mango tree, like those found in many households in southern Chad. They keep the water reasonably fresh even at 43 degrees in the shade. Many women in Pauline’s village earn an extra income by selling them. It’s hard work, for in the south of Chad, just a few kilometres can be an insurmountable distance. Why? Because the path to the market hall has more holes than asphalt. “When we arrive at the market with nothing but broken pottery», says Pauline Nguineberba. But this is over now. Thanks to a team of oxen and wagons which the women bought with the help of SWISSAID, their goods now make the journey to market slowly and unharmed.
The women make pottery together – under the mango tree for the photographer, but mostly at home. Together, the women are strong and can overcome many a difficult situation.
It's school that does it
In Chad, women have a hard time. Men have the say there. Women often suffer from violence, while girls are forced to marry and are circumcised. In the countryside, only a very few can read, write and do arithmetic – the illiteracy rate among women is almost 90%, and life expectancy is only 50 years. And yet they are often the ones who shoulder the main burden when it comes to keeping the family going.
SWISSAID is therefore carrying out comprehensive women’s projects with a focus on gender equality and literacy courses. Arithmetic, writing and reading open up new worlds. The women potters in southern Chad learn frm the material used in their reading and arithmetic courses what effect vaccinations have or why latrines are a blessing. Knowledge of the alphabet and their ‘times tables’ opens up significant new opportunities for women and their families. Unesco has calculated that just one year at school can increase women’s income by 20 percent over their entire lives.
Since she learned to count, the potter Pauline Nguineberba has not been ripped off at the market. “With the money from selling the pots, I can buy medicine if we need it and send my children to school,” she says. “Even the girls!” So she has a good basis for her hope, “that my daughters will one day have it easier than I do.”