Hope Restored : Skills To Empower and Transform.

We have all heard the famous quote “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. The sewing and knitting project encompasses this proverb.

Our aim is to help women to be self- reliant and to use their skills to make a better life for themselves and their children. At Kids Club Kampala, we are working hard to empower women to increase their incomes and overcome gender discrimination while helping women to raise themselves up out of poverty. By teaching women sewing and knitting skills, we are helping women to make a better life for themselves. Women who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be educated nor have the opportunity to learn a skill for free, are empowered by receiving the help they need to change their lives. This was echoed by Regina* and Angela*, two of our recent graduates:

*name changed.

“This project has helped me because I always wanted to get some tailoring skills, but I couldn’t get that opportunity because I had to pay money and I didn’t have the money to pay the school”. Regina*

“This training has made me more confident. In the session the trainers always talked to us and encouraged us not to accept defeat because everything is possible no matter how difficult the outlook may be. We have been encouraged to take our time and not to accept defeat . Believe that you can do everything and try it as many times as you can , this encouragement took away all the fears and I know I can do anything and everything concerning tailoring”. Angela*

Empowering women in the slum communities where we work is extremely important and our Women’s Initiatives are making a big difference. Since we launched the Women’s Empowerment Project, women have seen an increase in their incomes meaning that they are now able to provide for their families.

We live in a world in which women living in poverty face gross inequalities and injustice from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to vulnerable and low pay employment, the sequence of discrimination that a woman may suffer during her entire life is unacceptable but all too common.' The Global Poverty Project.

We heard this first hand when we spoke with Regina* who said:

“I’m living with my husband and he is not interested in the project, so I had to run away from my husband to do the project. My husband does not know that I’m doing training but because it’s what I want, I have to go for it no matter what”.

On our recent visit to Uganda in July, we had the opportunity to attend the sewing and knitting graduation and to see all the graduates celebrate their achievements. Before the graduation commenced, we spoke with some of the graduates about their experiences of the course. It was amazing to see and hear first-hand how much of a difference the sewing and knitting courses have had on women’s confidence and how it has transformed their lives by giving them hope. In addition, we were able to observe the women working hard in their workshops, perfecting their craft whilst also gaining self-confidence and developing long-lasting friendships.

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We spoke with a young girl called Lola* who was really excited about the opportunity to participate in the sewing course and, learning the skills to build her future. This is what Lola* had to say about taking part in the knitting project:

How has the knitting project helped you?

‘I am benefiting from the skills I am learning because I wasn’t learning anything before but now I can go and start up something of my own and do something of my own. Even if I’m not here maybe I can do something outside of here, I now have a skill that can support me.’

What would you like to do after you have graduated?

‘I have a passion for what I am doing right now and the skills I have been able to get. I am planning to find a company to work for and if I don’t find a company, I know I can work for myself. [I can] set something up and build on it.’

Has this project made you more confident?

‘I no longer fear now because I know I can do anything concerning tailoring. If I happen to find a client, I am no longer scared of the work that is being given to me. Before I was scared if someone brought me something because I was scared of how I would handle it but now I have the skills to work on the clothes and to give my clients what they want.’

Did you know anything about tailoring before the project?

‘I knew very little, but I have learnt more from being here, I have got the full skills from here.’

Would you advise other women to take part in this project?

‘I have started telling people about the project because I have benefited, and I hope that other women would benefit from the project as I have.’

Lola* graduated from the sewing course a few days after this interview. It was great to see her excitement about her future. Lola* was one of the youngest graduates and she attended the graduation wearing a very stylish dress that she had made using the skills that she had learnt during this course. It was wonderful to see all the women beaming with pride because of their achievements.

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This month, our fundraising focus is ‘Skills for My Future’ and so we are looking for vital donations from friends and supporters to reach our £500 target this month. If you would like to help us empower more young women by providing free vocational training courses, please click here to learn more and to donate.

We love to share stories of change and we are working hard to help more young women change their futures. As little as £1 will go a long way to making a real and substantial difference in the lives of women in the slum communities. To ensure the continuation of these vital courses and secure the futures of women in Uganda, we need your help and support. Please donate today to our ‘Skills for My Future’ campaign. Thank you!