'Women helping women': Happiness Project pairs NSCC students with female entrepreneurs in Tanzania

Halima Joy Mbita is passionate about cooking -- a passion she will soon travel halfway around the world to pursue.

The student from Tanzania recently earned a scholarship studying culinary management at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) this fall.

“I’m really honored to get the opportunity,” said Mbita in an interview with CTV Morning Live Wednesday.

“I can’t wait to learn the Canadian culture, the Canadian food and everything. I can’t wait to be with you all.”

She is currently working alongside 14 NSCC students and staff who are in the African country as part of the college’s Happiness Project -- an entrepreneur program in partnership with a Tanzanian college to help women there gain economic stability.

“Our Happiness Project is about women helping women,” said NSCC accounting student Jennifer MacLean.

As part of the project, NSCC students and 21 of their local counterparts are working in groups designing small businesses to be implemented on campus to raise funds and support local entrepreneurs.

“We made our business plans yesterday, and we are actually implementing those businesses and they are open today. They will be open today and tomorrow for services,” said MacLean.

From water filtration plants to banana farms, the group has been visiting women-run businesses in the area.

“We are learning from each other to hopefully raise the standard of living for everyone involved,” said NSCC faculty member Stephen Barrett.

“It’s really special. It’s a great opportunity for both our students and the students here. We’ve learned so much, our students have learned a ton, and we continue to learn beyond what we originally expected.”

Barrett says it will be an honour to have Mbita come and study at NSCC.

“We’ll have to take her out and show her some local restaurants,” said Barrett.