Introducing Galeria Dos Sonhos!

September 19, 2014

Each social enterprise partner at Shared Trade started with a dream for their community. Starting small, each company began to grow day by day, product by product, and friend by friend. Our partner in Mozambique calls vision and their company, Galeria dos Sonhos or Gallery of Dreams.

The Dream Gallery’s vision is to help women formerly in prostitution in Pemba, Mozambique, through teaching skills such as handling finances and investing in their business ideas. The Dream Gallery is a safe place for women to come and be loved.

We want you to meet Tina. Tina is 27 years old and lives in northern Mozambique. Her mother died when she was young and she and her four brothers lived with her father in a one room thatched roofed hut. Her father was a farmer, and she recalled that while growing up, sometimes they had money for food to eat and sometimes they did not. She said that the bush is a dangerous place to live.

“There are lions, and they eat people,” she said. “I grew up scared of being attacked.”

During her childhood she also had an aunt who was raped and murdered. Unfortunately, rape is very common.

In 1975, Mozambique was one of the poorest countries in the world, according to BBC News. Since then, it has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies despite suffering 16 years of civil war. Despite this growth, poverty remains widespread due to floods in 2000 and 2001 and a drought in 2002. Currently, more than 50% of Mozambicans live on less than $1 a day.

The women who work at the Dream Gallery no longer have to worry about providing for their families any longer. Tina is now able to buy food and her own plates through working with the Dream Gallery.

“I can provide for myself properly,” she said.

Tina currently dreams of building her own house. Right now, the majority of her weekly salary goes toward rent. The Dream Gallery also has a dream for the company. To the people at the Dream Gallery, success would look like a woman being able to get a job or create a business of her own or simply move up within the business to manage others and help run the business.

Tina said that one of her favorite things about working with the Dream Gallery is that if someone doesn’t know how to do something, they teach each other. She said that the people are patient and kind.For now, the Dream Gallery is focusing on creating high quality products. These products include table runners, children's clothing, serviettes, clutches, iPad sleeves, cross-over bags, and men's bow ties. All of their products are made from authentic, African, wax fabrics.

“Galeria dos Sonhos is honored to have Tina on our team,” according to Grace Davis, Director of the Dream Gallery. “She brings joy and laughter into our space every single day. She is patient and kind and eager to learn. Since joining us she previously only spoke Makua but is now learning to speak Portuguese! We love having her in our family and providing a safe circle where she is always welcomed.”

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