With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many people lost work due to indefinite closure of businesses and institutions. Almost all nations have been on lockdown exposing vulnerable families to hunger and difficulties, and this includes our beneficiaries. The COVID-19 pandemic brought many things to a standstill — even our Elimu girls were adversely affected. After Heri Sewing College closed abruptly, the girls went back home to help their parents with chores and farming. “There are a few sewing machines available in the area but, the tailors are not willing to share them since business is slow” said Linet, one of the students who was lucky to be back in Malindi for an income generating project.

In May 2020, a few of the sewing graduates and students returned to the college to sew face masks as part of the global campaign to stop the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. Wearing of masks has become the new normal as one of the measures that has been embraced across the globe to help mitigate the spread of the virus. A few of the Elimu Girls were lucky to be back for project that entailed sewing of over 2,000 masks that were being donated in the United Kingdom (U.K). (These masks have an extra filter cloth sewn in between the fabric to meet medical requirements.) The initiative is led by an U.K.-based business woman who works with Kenyan suppliers in Malindi.

““As long as you are skilled at sewing, you will never go hungry!”
– Mme Linet, Heri Ministries Sewing College, Headteacher.

She donated the fabric and will donate the masks to health workers. The sewers agreed to make the masks at a minimal labour cost due to the good cause. For them, it is a good way to keep busy at their trade at a time where there is little else to do. And the small stipend covers their transport costs and gives a little something to take home to their families, who are bound to appreciate every little bit of support. This small project may also lead to more meaningful work for them in the future.

At Elimu, we are always looking for such opportunities to enable our students and graduates to improve their livelihoods and help their families back in the village. The objective of Elimu Sewing Project is to transform girls from vulnerable backgrounds into sewing entrepreneurs. After completion of their sewing course, they return to their rural villages empowered with a trade, digital skills and the confidence to become role models in their communities.

They were all excited to be back and do something meaningful with their sewing skills that also earned them a little money. They all hope that the pandemic be over soon so that they can get back to their studies or to their businesses!


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Elimu empowers learners to increase academic and digital literacy, improve school retention and encourage self-sustainability through employment planning and entrepreneurship. 

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