Janet Shoo, known fondly as Mama Shoo, is the founder-owner of the Mama Shoo Cultural Tourism Enterprise in Moshi. This inspirational project is testament to her desire to share with the world her rich cultural heritage and that of the Chagga people, whilst giving back to her local community by providing jobs, creative outlets, and socio-economic support for women, schools and health centres.
Janet studied home economics in Germany and on her return taught her newly acquired skills, alongside those of hotel management, in colleges across Tanzania. In 2006 she took the courageous step to set up her own business and opened up a shop for handmade Tanzanian products including masks, jewellery, wood carvings, and batik table cloths. Her business grew and in 2016 she opened her much loved cultural experience where visitors can come to learn about the Chagga people (the largest ethnic group around the Kilimanjaro area), explore a traditional Chagga hut and museum, enjoy local dishes and even design their own beautiful batik fabrics!
Mama Shoo’s Cultural Tourism Enterprise is a true leader in cultural and community-focused tourism. The enterprise employs only local people from the Moshi area, tapping into the rich generational expertise contained within the community. The working environment is supportive and vibrant, and Janet is proud that through working at the enterprise her employees are able to send their children to school and care for their families. Janet is also committed to helping her team reach their true potential and provides extra training whenever possible in a range of skills from cooking to marketing! The enterprise’s long time relationships with local schools and health care centres also allow them to help generate funds for much-needed resources from school books to medical equipment, plus encourages residents to visit to learn about protecting their beautiful and fragile natural environment.
Janet (accompanied by Lilian Munuo of ‘African Art’, a talented young artist in her community) exhibited batiks, wooden sculptures, and wall hangings at UWANDAE EXPO2020.