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PHOTOS AND VIDEOS
When Consoler was a child she lived with her aunt who was unusually brutal: she was made to sleep in the store cupboard and woken with cold water every morning; her aunt beat her with wire brooms and fed her rotting food from the dustbins. She loved school but was made to walk her younger cousin to a different school further away every day, because of that could only attend school 2 hours out of a 8-hours school day.
When she turned 11, her aunt told her that since she was now a bigger girl she didn’t need to go to school anymore. This is not unusual in Tanzania as it is around this age that girls are taught to find and care for a husband. Consola's arranged a marriage for her with a local man who had a business selling magazines.
Consola was heartbroken so she prayed that God would spare her life and rescue her. She even wrote a letter to God, that If he rescued her she would give her life to serve other vulnerable young girls in her country.
God did rescue her. Consola didn’t get married, instead her father wrote a letter to a friend who was a school official. Consola was then accepted into a good secondary school without exams, despite having only a basic ability to read, write and count.
Since then Consoler has been to university, and completed a BA in Sociology and an MA in Social Work. She has dedicated her qualifications, time and her energies to setting up a project in Dar es Salaam called New Hope for Girls, which works with vulnerable teenage girls, facing many of the same circumstances she endured as a young child.
Consoler works with young women and girls who are in vulnerable circumstances. She also focus her work on the rights of domestic workers (which often employs and exploits many of those young women).
As part of her Masters Degree, Consoler conducted research into the scope of domestic workers and violence in Ilala Municipality. The following results were found:
1. Domestic employment is one of the sectors which often employs girls of very young ages (between 10-19 years old).
2. The majority of employers are women (90%). Given this situation, it can be called a wholly female activity.
3. Most surveyed domestic workers were either pressured or influenced by their relatives, friends or others to work in the profession. Only a few of interviewees reported to have chosen the career or had their parents’ consent. From these results, it can be deduced that most workers had no other alternative.
4. In the same vein, it was indicated that, the majority of the interviewed (56%) worked in an unfavourable environment. Most working 7 days a week, up to 16 hours a day, for a monthly salary ranged from Tshs 21,000-80,000.( $ 13 to $ 47).
5. Approximately 88% of domestic workers in the study lived in their employers’ home. In other words, they lived at their work places.
6. Most domestic workers (72%) would like to go back to school if they had the opportunity. Unfortunately very few ever achieved that dream.
7. Most endured violence due to lack of alternatives, poverty was a major factor.
8. The majority of employers (86%) were aware their domestic workers were subject to some kind of violence, but felt they could not intervene or report simply because many domestic employers were their relatives.
9. Domestic violence included physical and nonphysical violence (ie. underpayment, affliction of mistreatment, rape, lack of medical care, discrimination, overwork, and humiliation).
10. The majority of both domestic workers (97%) and employers (95%) were not aware of any existing institutions or bodies dealing with domestic work related issues.
11. Furthermore, the study found out that, there were no legal agreements established between domestic workers and their employers as it was indicated by the majority of respondents (85%). Indeed, all contracts were done informally and orally, suggesting the lack of transparency between the two.
Despite all types of violence faced by domestic workers at their work places, only a few of them can be said to be aware of where they could go for intervention or assistance in case of problems.
Consoler established New Hope for Girls to address violence and exploitation of vulnerable young women and girls.
Consoler also works to support women who are victim of other kinds of exploitations such as gender discrimination, mistreatment, underpayment, overwork, etc.
She takes a special interest in supporting domestic workers, who make-up considerable proportions of the female working class in low and middle income countries, and yet have their rights and needs often ignored by employers and government authorities.
The organisation offers a holistic intervention which includes:
• Identification of most vulnerable girls and marginalised young women.
• Identify priority needs of vulnerable girls and marginalised young women.
• Where possible, basic items such as clothes, food, bed sheets and mattress are provided.
• Support for school fees/tuition fee and other learning facilities
• Entrepreneurship training
• Life skills and other related training
• Basic computer training
• Income generation project activities
• Advocating for the rights of vulnerable girls and marginalised young women
• Raising awareness of domestic violence against women and girls among the community
• Provision of civic education to marginalised young women and vulnerable girls (including in the very rural areas) to raise their own awareness of the issue and the available resources