Nineteen vulnerable women last Sunday graduated with skills in tailoring and craft making, in Remera, Kigali, following the successful completion of a one-year course.
Besides, being awarded certificates of completion, 10 of them who did tailoring were given a sewing machine each, while nine who did craft making were given a brand to help them buy the materials needed for their work.
Speaking at the ceremony, David Alireki, the country director – Acts 4 Rwanda, said all this is to ensure that needy women have a place and means to start businesses so that they continue supporting their families. Acts for Rwanda is a local non-government organisation that provides support to vulnerable and needy children and women in Rwanda.
“This equipment is like seeds which should be used to generate income that will further improve the livelihood of these women. The skills acquired should be used to better their families and society at large. They should also remember to be agents of hope and sustainable development,” he said.
The programme, which started in 2015, aims at equipping vulnerable women with skills in entrepreneurship, leadership and character development.
Lynda Weir, the chief executive of Act 4 Rwanda, urged the graduates to start with the little they have, noting that the money will come after. She encouraged them to find ways to overcome their challenges without fear.
“For one to do something big, they don’t need to have much; with good values, right mission and a good team one can accomplish much and grow big,” she said.
Brittany Huttman, one of the funders of the programme, said providing such skills to women is one way of helping them to alleviate poverty. The programme emphasizes entrepreneurship to make beneficiaries independent and strong enough to stand for their rights as women.
“My hope and prayer for the graduates is that they will take what they have learnt and continue to grow, as well as look for opportunities for employment,” she said.
Alvere Uwitije, a single mother and one of the beneficiaries, said she was ready to go out there and impact the community with the tailoring skills she acquired.
“Previously, I didn’t know how to use my own hands to generate income. But in the year I have been here receiving training, I have gotten a lot of customers who order for clothes after they saw some of my samples. Now I am assured of some small money to cater for my needs,” she said.
Uwitije also said she would train other interested women and empower them to be independent.