How a sewing course can help families achieve sustainable food security.
Even before entering the dark corridor of the training centre in Bake Kelate, one can hear the rhythmical hum of sewing machines. A Menschen für Menschen sewing course is taking place here. In the main town of Abune Ginde Beret electricity is unreliable; in the home villages of the course participants there is often no power supply at all. For this reason, the women are being taught to use foot-operated sewing machines.
Ten women sit at their machines and sew elaborate embroideries onto colourful fabrics; others allow themselves and their machine a break and crochet multi-coloured woollen doilies. Each of them was specifically chosen for this course. Not everyone can take part in a sewing course. A certain amount of experience is required – many of the participating women had already taken on small sewing and mending jobs before.
“I do the sewing course to be able to feed my children properly, and to change things in the house.” Sewing student Genet Tolera
When choosing participants, Menschen für Menschen also ensures that mainly women who have no other means of earning a little extra can do the course. It is specifically designed for women who do not have enough land to feed their families.
Course participants are taught by Wayineshet Aregay. This is the third time she holds sewing courses in the region, and she transmits better sewing techniques as well as finishing touches such as embroidery to the participants.
Kidist Abere is responsible for the organisation of sewing courses in particular and projects that generally serve the advancement of women. She has been working for Menschen für Menschen for two years, and has moved from the capital Addis Ababa to Kachisi for this.
“The course is of great importance to the women – after successful completion they will work independently or collaborate and start a business. With their products they will earn a good income.” Kidist Abere, coordinator of Home Economics in Abune Ginde Beret and Ginde Beret.
The sewing course lasts 78 days. Each participant receives 50 Birr per training day. With this income they can support their families during the months they spend attending the course. In addition, they can save some of it, so as to buy a sewing machine at a subsidised price at the end of the course.
The sewing course is the foundation of an independent future. For women like Genet Tolera it is the start of a new, better life; with the income they can feed their children and give them access to education.
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