Woodcarving has been an inherited culture in Tanzania and has been preserved for the past few decades. Nowadays, there are more than 300 carvers in Tanzania who depend on the woodcarvings as their day-to-day livelihood. Woodcarving is also a significant income to Tanzanian economy as it is one of the major export items of the country.
Although woodcarving plays a big role in the community and country wide, the carvers still have difficulties in their daily woodwork. Tools, workshop, and education have been some of challenges the carvers encountered.
Education has been a main issue to carvers since most of them have not gone to school, reading and writing has been a big problem to them. Lack of education has made it even harder for carvers to explore and interact with the international market. After experiencing the hardship, the carvers are going to CHAWASAWATA for some assistance, it was sponsored by the International Wood Culture Society through the donation from the World Wood Day Foundation. CHAWASAWATA offers English and computer lessons for the carvers. There are two English classes and one computer class running for the carvers; there’re beginner and advanced level for English classes.
The classes have made positive impact on countering illiteracy to the carvers and have shown remarkable development. With this kind of program we expect to reach out to more carvers and educate them on the importance of preserving wood for future generation. The classes are just a start and we expect to add more programs for educating the carvers and the importance of working together.