2021 in our Craft Centre
The tailoring training offered at the Craft Centre perfectly reflects our slogan: “We help people to help themselves, as we believe in everybody´s potential”.
Through fair wages, codetermination at the workplace and the support of their families, young women are empowered to design and produce high-quality products which are sold on local markets as well as internationally through the online shop.
As every year, in 2021 we faced a number of challenges that unfortunately made 15 of the 71 students drop out of the training. These included the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic which led to temporary closures of the centre and flooding which affected several homes of students and their families. Both of these factors made it difficult for our students to stay in the programme.
We hope to soon have these young women back in the training and to be able to support them and their families.
In the first half of 2021, 26 adolescent girls and young women, aged between 13 and 25 years, enrolled in the centre. For six months they were offered training in tailoring and dressmaking in which they were taken through comprehensive theory and practical lessons by the project coordinator and former students which are now qualified for teaching. Through written and practical on-site examinations their understanding and content retention was gauged.
On July 30th 2021 the craft center conducted its first graduation ceremony and certificate issuance for the students that passed the exams. During the ceremony, some of the products such as the self-made graduation gowns were showcased to the guests.
All the graduates, of which four were young mothers, received sewing machines from Make Me Smile and with the knowledge acquired they were empowered to enter the labour market and change their livelihoods. Currently two of the 2021 graduates are working at our craft centre, the others either work in the tailoring industry or have built up their own tailoring spaces at home.
After the graduation, 45 other young women were enrolled for the training that started in September 2021. Soon these students will also be tested in written and practical exams and we expect to celebrate their success by end of May 2022 with the graduation ceremony.
NITA (National Industrial Training Authority) is an institution which offers various courses in Kenya and, among other things, certifies tailors with a state-recognized qualification. Several graduates of our Craft Centre have taken and successfully passed this official state examination.
The ten o’clock porridge
The children of the young women are always welcome in our Craft Centre. However, many of our students cannot afford to eat breakfast in the morning, or they simply do not have the time. We introduced the ten o’clock porridge so that the children have a full stomach and the young women can work in peace.
Production and sustainability
The arts and crafts workshop is doing better than ever. Not only have we received numerous orders for school uniforms, clothing and reusable feminine hygiene products, but we have also begun a collaboration with the DREAMS project. Through this collaboration we have been able to help even more young women to receive a quality vocational training.