Thanks to all of you who sent sewing machines out in the container in 2013.
About ten of them are now kitted out with treadles, and are in use in the URAFIKI community hall. The Sewing Project is turning into a big success, guided by Rose, the excellent teacher who is paid to instruct the class. You name it, they can do it – pattern making, button holes, pleats, tucks. Ten people have done the programme since March 2014, young girls, older women, and one man, Isaac. They are regularly assessed by the local youth polytechnic, and all are now ready to do a certificate exam. As part of their learning they are now making the school uniforms – dresses, trousers, blouses, skirts – for all the children on the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s scheme. They are also making washable sanitary towel, so supporting girls into education.
We hope to take on another group of students in the next few months, and will run a sponsorship scheme to raise the funding to support them.
We hope that the existing trainees can now get work. Marketing their new skills and products will be a challenge, but there is a demand for the products, whether the school uniforms, sanitary towels or the smashing dresses that they have learned to make. It is still early days but the Yala sewing project is well on its way.
Most of us at 14 can expect to be at school. Not so Petronilla. Her father was not in favour of educating girls so she was not allowed to go to secondary school. She was in grave danger of early marriage. Her mother came to the URAFIKI Centre with Petronilla and asked for help. Thanks to money raised at the Globe music night one Saturday in March, she started learning to sew on the Monday morning. A life changed….
Learning to sew has changed Ann’s life. Orphaned at a young age, she was unable to go to secondary school so went to the city to find work. She returned to Yala when her young baby died, unsure what her next move might be. That’s where URAFIKI stepped in. Ann was part of the first group to learn to sew and has not missed a day since. She is now making school uniforms for the orphans in the community and can see a brighter and independent future for herself.
Imagine Kisiomi’s excitement when he made his first dress for one of the Yala orphans. He took to the sewing machine very quickly and has been an integral part of the team. His enthusiasm, speed and willingness to learn are amazing. Proudly pictured holding his first dress, Kisiomi has gone on to make trousers and shirts and blouses. He can now see a way to make a living in the future.