Marco Deo first came to the notice of Tools For Self Reliance back in the 1990s, when he took part in a blacksmiths training programme, funded by our parent charity. He lives in Muhintiri, a very rural village many miles from Singida, the regional town in central Tanzania. It is farming country and Marco has a ready market for his products amongst the farmers living all around. He makes jembes, the heavy Tanzanian hoe which is used throughout the country, and donkey ploughs, as well as carrying out the important work of repairing his neighbour’s broken or worn tools.
Following his training, Marco started to take on apprentices and train youths to work in his trade. Some of these trainees have since set up their own blacksmith’s workshops in nearby villages. There is plenty of work for all. Twenty years later, we visited him and were so pleased to see how his work had progressed. He asked us for more tools to improve his workshop and make him more productive. This also enabled him to take on more trainees, and provide tool for other groups.
We asked him to become part of our Fair Trade tools programme, and he now makes a variety of tools for us including draw knives, adzes and small jembes for us to sell in Wales. The blacksmiths love this programme as we pay at least double the price they would sell for locally, we offer training to improve their hardening and finishing techniques, and we also pay a bonus which goes to the families of the group.
In the past four years he has built a new house for his family with a rain-water catchment tank. He has sent his son to university and his grandchildren are all doing well at school. Members of the group can now afford to travel to the hospital in Singida town which is 2 hours away by the infrequent bus, and a big expense for those living in this rural area.
More importantly, since his initial training he has trained 14 youths who have together started 3 more groups that are all still thriving. Muhintiri group members have 42 dependants between them, so this business is supporting many people.
Marco told us “Thank you so much, TFSR Cymru has helped me make all this possible”.