Tailor made for success - Jenefer

Posted: 29th February 2024

Tailor made for success - Jenefer

Meet Jenefer!

Jenefer (18) lives in Mambi village, Pajur Parish, in the Nebbi District of Uganda. She is the 4th born in a family of 8 children (2 boys and 6 girls).  Her parents are peasant farmers who grow traditional crops for upkeep of the family.  They grow groundnuts for sale; and cassava, bananas and maize for feeding the household although when harvest is good, part of it is sold to realise income for the family.

Thanks to funding from BFSS (British & Foreign School Society), we were able to help our partner ARUWE (Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment) launch a Vocational Centre in Nebbi District, Uganda, to teach vulnerable young people tailoring and sewing skills.

Jenefer shares the impact that the Vocational School has already had on her life and her hopes for the future.

What was life like before the Vocational Centre?

My father was not willing to pay fees for girls and my mother found it very hard to support the girls alone, I had to leave school in 2022 and ended up at home helping my mother with garden work. Having to dig every day was not very easy for me. I wanted to run away from home but I had nowhere to go, so I remained. One evening my father returned and told me about the recruitment at the sub-county. I went and was successfully enrolled.

How has life changed?

When I joined this course, I had no knowledge but with guidance and advice from the teachers, most of us sew very well. I am able to help others and we usually discuss in groups. I want to finish successfully and open my own shop so that even when I get married, I can stand on my own and be able to support my husband.

What improvements have you seen?

Since I joined this course, I have learned many skills in tailoring.  I was able to save 50,000UGX (around £10 – for context daily average wage is around £1.25) out of sewing people’s clothes during the course. I bought materials using the money and made new clothes for myself.  I also used part of the money to buy 2 chickens for rearing at home. I am able to buy smearing oil and mend my own clothes.

With the skills I have gained, I can see my family future where my parents cannot. I can sew with confidence and I look forward to improve through other designs and fashions.

What other changes would you like to see?

If I am given a sewing machine, I will sew and save the money to buy another sewing machine with which I will be able to train other girls so they improve on their lives. The training on business will help me to diversify and improve on household income and help my parents even if I am not yet married.