Elimu Girls Back At Their Sewing Machines
“I kept checking with my friends to confirm whether the schools had resumed, in many occasions the feedback was disheartening. I can’t express the joy when I finally received the call that required us to come back to school,” says Pauline, one of the Elimu girls, when we first checked on them once Heri Sewing College reopened. For more than ten months, learning institutions remained closed in Kenya and across many parts of the globe. Year 2020 became a ‘lost’ year and in 2021, we finally had the chance to pick up from where we left off in the early months of 2020. Normally, our current second year students would have already graduated and be home working on their own sewing businesses, had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic. They had just started their second semester when COVID-19 struck and they were forced to close indefinitely, but all is not lost!
“My soul is fed with needle and thread.”
They resumed their second semester early this year full of energy and enthusiasm ready to cover what had been lost. It has been a marathon semester especially for the second year students as they prepare to sit for their final government exams. From paper dresses, to facemasks and finally to ragdolls, they have gained a range of sewing skills, and we believe they have what it takes to do exemplary well in their final national exams. “I can’t wait to finish college, get my own sewing machine and start running my own business,” says Linet. She is a very hardworking student who started fending for her family much earlier than she expected. Through sewing masks and ragdolls, she was able to earn some cash that she used to support her family including taking care of medical fees for a sister who was very ill last year.
Elimu’s larger goal is to see a changed community with empowered women, and these girls are our change makers. Two years of training (sewing, digital fashion design, entrepreneurship and life skills). Even before graduation, they are beginning to delve into entrepreneurship by creating and selling artisan ragdolls which they designed through their own research with guidance from Elimu. We wish our second year students best of luck in their forthcoming national examinations. We can’t wait to see them thriving in their businesses!