Fellow Since 1996
Fatima Women Investment
This profile was prepared when Fatima Shoriwa was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1996.
The New Idea
Fatima is working to change prevailing perceptions of women and their societal roles in rural Zimbabwe, and to help the women themselves gain opportunities and rights that have long been denied. From her own experience, she is certain that the surest and quickest way to liberate women from attitudes and circumstances that tightly circumscribe their control over their own lives is to help them learn trades that, until now, have been the exclusive province of men. With such skills, she confidently predicts, rural women will achieve economic independence, and, with that newfound freedom, they will assume new roles in society and gain access to new options in education, marriage, child rearing, and other important aspects of their lives.Fatima is translating those convictions into concrete action by organizing a women's training center and an associated production unit in a rural area. The training center will equip Zimbabwean women from rural communities with practical skills in carpentry, welding, and similar fields. The production unit will help them hone their newly acquired skills, expose them to the benefits of working as a group, and generate income that will help make the center self-sustaining.