Zenna, chef and disability justice activist, Tanzania

Chef Zenny.

Taking the lead in Tanzania.

Zenna’s Story.

Zenna is a young activist from Tanzania with a physical disability. Everyone knows her as “Chef Zenny” because she runs an online restaurant, which employs other disabled people.

Recently, she took part in ADD’s participatory grant-making, to help select which project should be funded. She is a passionate advocate of this approach.

Tackling Employment Discrimination.

“Most people with disability in my community are unemployed due to societal barriers and attitudes. This drives my passion for advocacy. Through championing disability inclusive employment and encouraging my fellow youths with disabilities to find something to do regarding self-employment.

Zenna has come up with her own solution to this challenge, employing people with disabilities in her restaurant.

“Being Chef Zenny in my community has been an inspiration because I’m currently employing my fellow people with disabilities at the restaurant, and this has inspired some to start their own small enterprises as well.”

Taking the Lead in Decision Making.

Recently, Zenna took part in ADD International’s participatory grant-making. She was a member of the panel of young disabled people responsible for deciding which of the projects designed by their peers should receive funding.

“Our main role was to review the different proposals. The entire process was amazing, we were trained beforehand on how to stick to the vetting criteria. I got a chance to read different proposals and understand the kind of change my fellow people with disabilities want to create.

“People with disabilities are very skilled and should be given a chance to lead. In my country, it’s not very easy for Organisations of People with Disabilities to get funds.

“When people with disabilities apply for funds, in most cases they are rejected due to negative attitudes towards them. It is very easy for an organization that’s not for people with disabilities to apply and get funds.

“A case in example is the grantees that won in the pilot phase of the participatory grant model in Tanzania. These are very small Organisations
of People with Disabilities but with very brilliant ideas that I can guarantee will cause a movement of change. The fact that they were given a chance to easily access funds and decide how they were going to use them through their different projects is a game changer.”

How you can help.

For years ADD International has worked closely with grassroots organisations run by disabled people and disability justice activists, listening to and supporting them. We know they are experts in their own lived experience and now, together, we have the opportunity to support them even more directly, for real and lasting change.

Donate to our Unlocking Change appeal this Christmas to fund the brilliant initiatives of disability justice activists, and make sure it’s experts like Zenna who decide how that money is spent.