On the 18th of September the Godsent Sewing Academy, Kisumu Kenya, opened its doors for registration of the first of our sewing and tailoring students.
This is a project that Louise Berrington and I stumbled on when we visited Kenya last year. Two things happened, we realised a sewing academy would help the girls and women to be more independent and self sufficient and secondly we realised that there were thousands of women and girls with no access to sanitary wear.
When we were visiting projects we came across a young lady sewing and from that meeting an Academy was born. Little did we know that this chance meeting would start the exciting journey down the road to our sewing Academy.
The young women we met in 2016
On our return I met with the wonderful people of Tools For Self-Reliance in Hampshire UK. http://www.tfsr.org and they agreed to give us 12 hand sewing machines. We just needed the money to ship them and of course it came through a very generous person who lives near me.
Kris Shah from Ambaforwarding firstname.lastname@example.org then arranged the transport from UK to Kisumu , Kenya. Not an easy thing to do, but Kris made it happen.
Mama Phoebe and her Great Lakes team have worked very hard setting up the academy. We also have to give thanks to Locks Heath Rotary Club and Boscombe and Southbourne Rotary Club for their financial support, we couldn’t have done it with out you.
One of the things Louise and I worked really hard on was finding a way to provide sanitary wear to these girls and women to afford them protection and dignity. We looked at lots of schemes and ideas and then we realised if people could sew then they could make sanitary wear for the girls and women of Kenya.
We will be telling you more about the “For Me”, campaign it will have its own page and we will be giving you lots of updates from now until we visit in February 2018.
The Academy will also have its own page and again we will be reporting back and telling you how it is all going.
Right now I want to introduce you to two of our students. Please meet Matilda. Matilda is 17 and she had to give up school because the loss of her father meant there was no money for school fees. She and her family face many hardships, her Mother works but can only pay the rent and there is often no money for food. This course will help all the family as Matilda has a chance to start a small business or get a paid job and pay for her siblings to be educated. Her Mother will also be able to help Matilda and who knows one of her sisters might learn to sew as well.
Jennifer is 19 and very bright. When her Father died she too had to leave school. Her Mother is a member of the Great Lake Foundation and we are so happy to have Jennifer training with us to improve the life of her family.
These girls will learn many sewing and tailoring skills and they will also study business management, health and hygiene and nutrition. We will encourage them tolearn as many crafts as possible so they can make many things to sell.
This academy really can change peoples lives and bring about independence for these families, something we feel very strongly about. We will be introducing you to the students and the staff so watch this space. We will also be asking if you want to contribute to the next shipment of machines.
Jennifer smiles at the camera she is really happy to be in our academy
Matilda is learning how to thread the machine