A tailoring training programme to enhance the quality of life of girls who dropped out of school in Ngoma District has started bearing fruit.
The girls are part of the students that underwent Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes in various institutions in the district.
A total of 60 girls have undergone tailoring course at different TVET schools and are currently operating in different markets in the district and neighbouring areas.
Through their association, Ambara Uberwe, the young women hire a truck that takes them to different markets in Ngoma, Kayonza and Kirehe districts on different days of the week.
Alphonsine Tengera, 20, one of the beneficiaries, says she is doing much better than her former classmates, the majority of whom she says have since been married off.
“Most girls my age who dropped out of schools got married. They live as housewives and fight with their husbands daily because of inadequate finances,” she said in an interview at the Ngoma Central Market on Sunday.
“The skills have turned around our economic fortunes. Even those of us who have gotten married are respected by men because we are breadwinners just like them,” she said.
Juliette Mukamana, 19, another member, said she earns decent money every month.
“I am mobile; I operate in all the major markets in the three districts. This makes me busy most of the time. I earn up to Rwf100, 000 a month,” she said of the programme which is two months old.
Providing relevant technical skills to the youth is part of the efforts to drive Rwanda toward a knowledge based economy, according to the Vice Mayor of Ngoma District in charge of Social Affairs, Providence Kirenga.
Due to poverty, many girls drop out of school to get married and end up doing odd jobs on other people’s farms or other petty jobs like cleaning or becoming house helps.
Addressing the young women in Ngoma market, Kirenga said in the past, most girls who dropped out of school, never got an opportunity to get employed because they lacked skills.
“Skills empowerment has helped these young ladies create their own jobs in tailoring business. They are strong, independent, and hardworking”.
She said whoever completes the course receives sewing machines and a soft loan to start a business.