Our Rise-Up (YAA-MALU) Women Tailoring Center
Photo Credit: @Robin Letellier
Since its inception in 2019, we have made significant toward towards elevating the standards of well-being in Okere Parish, Otuke District. Among the many projects we run, is RISE-UP, Yaa Malu (in Leb Lango) Women Tailoring Hub where young girls and women are equipped with relevant and vital skills in tailoring and knitting. We have been able to train 50 young women between June to Nov 2022. Training normally takes place from 11am - 05pm from Monday to Friday. Class sessions start late to give the women the opportunity to do garden work and perform other household chores before coming to the hub. At the moment, our oldest trainee is 26 years of age and the youngest one is 16 years old. The program is non-residential and the ladies commute from the neighboring villages, parishes, and Sub County within Otuke district. Daily, most of them walk on foot for distances of more than 10KMs to come to the training center.
Who is our target group?
Yaa Malu Tailoring Hub targets the following category of women: out-of-school young girls, teenage mothers, married women, and orphans who are interested in enhancing and learning skills for personal, household, and community benefit. The majority of our current trainees are P.7 school dropouts.
What are the goals and objectives of the tailoring center?
The overall goal of this project is to equip the rural women in Okere with the tools, knowledge, and aspiration to build better lives for themselves and their families. Resultantly, the hub shall enable rural women to become more resilient actors in shaping the sustainable future that Okere City aspires to build.
What is the training methodology at the hub?
At our community training center, learning is very practical in that the trainees are actively involved in the learning process with guidance from a trained instructor. Other aspects of hygiene, communication skills, budgeting, and price negotiation are included in the training to enable the women to have a fuller grasp of the trade. The instructor regularly evaluates the progress made by the learners during the course of the training.
How is the training hub sustainable?
After the completion of the six-month training programme, the trainees are offered to the opportunity to continue doing their individual work at the centre. They can buy their own material and produce clothes at the weekly market that is scheduled every Sunday of the week. At the center, they have access to both the tailoring machines and technical guidance from the instructor. Also, the best trainees are given the opportunity to make school uniforms for the children also giving them the opportunity to earn extra income.
Any achievements thus far?
So far, we have made some remarkable achievements as listed below;
· We have been able to enroll a very committed and engaged 50 young women who have embraced the skilling project at the training center. Commitment is seen by active engagement and participation of the trainees of the women like in cultural activities organized by Okere City.
· We also have quality tailoring and knitting machines at our learning center. Although they are few in number.
· We also have a convenient and spacious learning center that can allow 30 rural women to be trained at the same time.
· Presence of an instructor to help guides the learners during the learning process. We have an established and resident instructor to help train and equip the trainees with the relevant skills needed for them to thrive.
Challenges we experience at the training center?
In running community development projects, challenges are always inevitable and the followings are the challenge we as a project are facing in the process of implementation of this vital programme Learners also have got their own unique challenges they face daily in the process of learning from home to the learning center they are listed below. For the project, we face a number of challenges which makes it hard for us to achieve our intended goals and objectives. They are listed below;
The limited number of tailoring machines and training materials at our learning center cannot accommodate all the learners in the center. We have an overwhelming number of learners who are interested in learning but we do not have enough machines to facilitate this. We hope to increase the number so that no one is left behind.
Also, the trainees said that they get hungry since they don’t get food from the school kitchen. This is because the project is unable to provide food to all the learners. However, those who can afford are given the opportunity to pay for food at the primary school and they can receive food from the school kitchen. However, only 2 out of the 35 trainees have been able to pay for the food.
What do the trainees say about the training opportunity?
Ms. Auma Harriet who is one of the trainees at our tailoring center mentioned that she faces challenges of balancing home and tailoring class. She mentioned that she finds it hard to pay for foodstuff for both his son enrolled at our other initiative, Okere Community School, and herself thus making her not have lunch whilst at the training center. She also mentioned that a limited number of machines slow down the skills-acquisition process. Moreover, the instructor also doesn’t give all the trainers ample time because they are many.
Mrs. Acen Betty mentioned that balancing home and class activities’ is hard for her. She is a married woman who is passionate about self-reliance and skills improvement. She mentioned that she leaves home very late for classes and a times miss classes due to a heavy workload at home. But apart from the life skills, she is receiving from the center, Acen is also excited about the opportunity to socially engage and share ideas about life and the future with fellow trainees.
Mrs. Eunice Ejang mentioned that the distance from her home makes it hard for her to come frequently to the tailoring class. She said she walks for 10KMs to attend her tailoring class and this makes her tired and lose concentration. However, she is proud because the center has given her to a new meaning and perspective on life.
A trainee being guided by the instructor.