Skills Training for Vulnerable Women
HOLISTIC HEALING: GRACE’S STORY
“I have hope that whatever new skills I gain will impact my life greatly. I hope to start a tailoring business after I graduate which would be a huge blessing to me and my family.”
Grace Yesaya is already a widow at age 39. She has also been left to care for her brother’s four children, because he and his wife have both died. Without the support of a husband, and the heavy responsibility of so many children to care for, Grace struggled through life alone. But at the start of 2017, she got a life-changing opportunity and became one of 22 new recruits in African Enterprise’s Malawi’s Vulnerable Women program, a six month course in tailoring. “Coming here is a great opportunity for me because it is going to open new doors for me and the children that rely on me.” she said. “I have hope that whatever new skills I gain will impact my life greatly. I hope to start a tailoring business after I graduate which would be a huge blessing to me and my family.”
Many of the women on the course were identified by AE’s partners and churches – all come from vulnerable backgrounds and are in desperate need of assistance. Through AE, they learn a variety of skills, including how to identify the best fabrics, how to match colours, sew zips and join pieces of cloth into garments. Grace excitedly listed all the things she has learned so far. “From the day I joined this school, I and my friends have managed to learn all the parts of a sewing machine, how to run the machine, how to attach a zip on a cloth and many other things,” she said.
“AS A CLASS, WE HAVE THE PRIVILEGE TO SHARE OUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES AND IDEAS AMONG OURSELVES AND ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER IN THE THINGS WHICH WE HAVE GONE THROUGH BEFORE
WE CAME HERE.”
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But this course is so much more than a set of sewing lessons; it is an experience that encompasses all of life, creating a time and place for women from difficult backgrounds to be healed, transformed and empowered. “As a class, we have the privilege to share our personal experiences and ideas among ourselves and encourage one another in the things which we have gone through before we came here.”
A great amount of work goes into this multifaceted program. Supplies are purchased by the sewing school matron, and all students get involved in the daily cleaning of the school building – a task which fosters a love for the environment in which they learn. There are devotions each morning and evening, and breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided. The women spend all their time together and form deep bonds through their learning, sharing and healing. Many of them receive personal counselling and guidance for individual problems. They receive instruction on caring for their bodies and their homes, form new friendships, gain sewing skills and, most importantly, get the opportunity to meet the God who cares about them.
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Marg and John Docking are former interns of African Enterprise’s Nile Vocational Institute in Uganda during 2009-2010 and they continue to make a significant ministry impact in Africa.
Over a million children in Ghana, ages 5-15 live on the street and are involved in such things as robbery, prostitution and drug addiction. Living on the street excludes these children from basic human rights such as safe family environments and protection against exploitation.
Over the years I have been familiar with many mission organisations. With African Enterprise I think every dollar given towards evangelism is an incredible investment as I know of no other organisation that could reach more than a million people each year and have well over 100,000 first time commitments to Jesus as such a low cost.