The Sewing Our Futures Project is the project arm of Mazuri Designs, which was started as the social enterprise branch of the local NGO, Girl Up Initiative Uganda, that aims to empower adolescent girls and young women in the slums of Kampala, Uganda. We began the project in 2015 after learning from the young women in the community that they wanted to learn sewing and fashion design skills for income generation.
As part of the Sewing Our Futures (SoF) Project, we engage local leaders in the identification of young women in the community who are best fit for the training program. In 2015, we started the vocational training program with 3 students, in 2016 we enrolled 11 students, in 2017 we enrolled 12 young women and in this first cohort of 2018 we enrolled 15 students, which is the largest group to date!
Our young women are trained over the course of six months during which they learn not only how to use and repair both manual and electric sewing machines, but also how to design items, interact with clients, provide customer service, and other basic business skills. After they graduate, our trainees have the skills and knowledge to start their own shops, or if there are job openings at Mazuri Designs they can continue working with us as we grow. Our vision is to provide sustainable work at a sustainable wage with safe working conditions.
To mark their completion of the training program, this year we organized a fashion show on the 24th of August - the first of its kind! The young women showcased the products they made during the training period. It was agreed that each student would exhibit three different products. The fashion show was graced by the parents, guardians and other family members of the participants totalling to over 30 guest all together. The girls displayed not only their beautiful products, but also their increased confidence during the run way before their families and the GUIU and Mazuri team.
Lilly Auma one of the parents gave a speech on behalf of all the parents appreciating our work and the effort the seamstresses have put in the sewing training. In her words she said: “Thank you Girl Up Initiative Uganda for giving the girls this great opportunity to learn tailoring and sewing skills. May you continue the good work of supporting such young girls and women”
Jesca Olinga Odeke one of the single mothers we had in the sewing training also appreciated the time she spent in Mazuri learning the tailoring skills: “Thank you Coach Monica for giving me this opportunity to learn this skill. From here I am able to begin my own workplace where am also able to train others but also earn a living through my sewing skills”.
At the end of the fashion show, each trainee received a certificate for having successfully completed the course.
Innocent Komugisha, one of the Mazuri seamstresses and also a trainer in the sewing training, thanked the participants for having persisted for the six months and completing the program: “I encourage you students to continue practicing these skills until you get better at it and we are always available whenever you need to consult on anything”.
The fashion show and celebration ended with a cake feast with everyone. The trainees and the seamstresses had the honor to cut the cake as it was their graduation from the sewing training.
Special thanks to the Girl Up team and the Mazuri seamstresses for joining hands to support fellow girls and young women in the community as well as organizing such a tremendous and amazing fashion show that helped the trainees gain more confidence and showcase their products. Thumbs up to our supporters and followers, we continue to seek for your support to develop the skills and support more young women start-ups!