Tools to Work, a Netherlands-based non-profit organisation has teamed up with Solace Ministries in Kacyiru, a Kigali city suburb, to provide a three-week skills training course for 20 Rwandans.
“Sewing machines can break down, costing people income. We bring knowledge and skills from the Netherlands and teach people how to repair the machines themselves,” Wim Roording, project coordinator said.
“Most of the time when sewing machines break down, they’re put in a corner and not used. I don’t think there are many ways to learn repair skills here”.
Sewing machines require regular oiling, can have needles that break or rubber rings that wear out among other problems.
In class, each participant is given a professional toolkit with the necessary tools for repair and maintenance and are then instructed how to use them.
“This course will help me seek a job and create my own job helping people repair and maintain their sewing machines. It’s very important to me and my family,” said Olive Uwimana, one of the participants.
Cedrick Twahirwa, 22, said he registered for the course so he could build skills because he aspires to become a tailor.
“I’m learning skills to become a professional, and once I learn these skills, I will teach others,” Twahirwa said.
Tools to Work plans to host the course three years in a row, with the goal of training Rwandan instructors who can fan out across the country and teach others.
“We asked people what changed after the course, most of them say they earned more money and gained more respect in their community,” Roording said.
Tools to Work has hosted courses in Kenya, Uganda and Sierra Leone since 2005.