Our Seamstress Trainees

We are pleased to introduce a few of the young women that have graduated from our first 2018 cohort Sewing Our Futures vocational training program in sewing, tailoring and fashion design

Being an unemployed single mother is tough. But, because I can now earn a living, a lot is changing. I am now able to cater for my daughters.
— Jesca

My name is Jesca Odeke Olinga. I learned about the Sewing Our Future Program from a friend of mine who was a previous graduate of the tailoring course. She told me that Girl Up offers training to out of school girls. I dropped out of school after Senior Six because my family had no funds for me to continue with my education and then I had my first child.                

Before I joined, I had no job or any income to cater for my needs and those of my family. I had no skill that would enable me earn income. I recall one day when I was contacted to make uniforms, and unfortunately I missed out because I had no tailoring skill. I had no way of earning income. So, I thought acquiring a skill in tailoring would really be a great thing.

One day I visited the Girl Up Initiative Uganda offices and my first encounter was with Coach Joan. I inquired from her about the program and she clearly explained to me what the training was all about. She took my details and asked me to keep in touch. I kept in touch as advised and that is how I got involved in the program.

When I joined, I had no experience with each and everything related to tailoring, but now I have acquired a tailoring skill. I can now make different products such as dresses, skirts, purses and so many others.

The more I learnt how to operate a machine and how to cut and sew, the more I got ideas on what I really want to do. With guidance from the seamstresses, I put attention on the course because I believed through it, I would be able to earn a living and totally change my life.

Through this program, I have been able to earn a living. This is through the products like dresses, purses, and scrunches that I make and sell to different people. Earning a living through tailoring is a huge change in my life because it has brought about many changes for me and my family.

I have also met different people who I never thought I would be able to meet. These are people that I look up to and who inspire me to keep working hard. These are the coaches at Girl Up.

I have also acquired business skills. I now have knowledge on how I can manage a business and this knowledge is really helping me with my new small business of making products.

My hope is now restored. Before, I thought I would never acquire any skill especially with the fact that I am a Senior Six dropout. Now that I have a tailoring skill, my hope is restored and I believe I will be able to fully change my life. I am now planning on starting up a tailoring business where I can make different products, sell fabric, and offer training to other people.

The same way I was given such an opportunity is the same way I want to offer my help to others.

Now, the way I talk with people has changed; I don’t fear looking people in their eyes.
— Salimah

My name is Salimah Thabiiti and I am 18 years old. I am married with one child. Before I joined the training, I used to just sit at home without doing anything constructive. I only knew how to sew dresses for babies and I couldn’t take measurements for other clothes.

I first heard about the Sewing Our Futures Program through a girl who took part in the Adolescent Girls Program at Girl Up Initiative Uganda. She directed me to the offices and I introduced myself to the coaches and asked them how I could be part of the sewing program.

Thanks to the program, I can now make different fashions like high-waist skirts, dresses, shirts, and bags for clients and my family. I can now take proper measurements of any kind of clothes and bags unlike before.

I have also learnt how to associate with people and work in a team.

Both in the community and here at Girl Up offices I talk freely with everyone mostly the seamstresses who train us. I love the part where the seamstresses help me out when am stuck on a particular piece of work. I also help other trainees when they are stuck because I have learnt how to associate better with others.

Learning how to sew different fashions is the most significant change I see in my life since joining the Sewing Our Futures Program. With the skills I have acquired, I want to buy my own sewing machine and start up a small business so that I can take good care of myself and my family.

It was after the first encounter with the coaches that I got to know that the program is for all regardless of one’s education level.
— Evelyn

I am Evelyn Berochan. I learnt about the Sewing Our Futures Program through my aunt who was in Girl Up Initiative Uganda’s women’s saving group. She told me that Girl Up offers training to out of school girls. I became interested in knowing more so I visited the offices where I learnt more about the tailoring training.

Before I joined the program, I was scared because I initially thought the course was for only people who were literate. I did not get a chance to go further than my primary level at school. This made me feel so insecure and scared because I thought Girl Up only dealt with literate people

Before, I was a very shy girl and feared interacting with other people. We had weekly trainings with Coach Joan on how one can become more confident and assertive and I must say the trainings taught me a lot. Now, I am able to freely express myself.

I have also acquired tailoring skills. Before joining the program, I had some knowledge in tailoring like how the machine operates and how to fix the thread into the machine; however I did not know how to make a finished product.

During the training, I became free with the seamstresses. This helped me a lot because I could open up and tell them the areas in which I had problems and they would offer guidance. I started taking notes on what the seamstresses taught. I learnt that one needs to first sketch before making the initial product.

As I speak now, I can make various products such as dresses, skirts, shorts, and babies’ cloths. I now know how to sketch, cut and sew. Acquiring tailoring skills has created a huge change in my life because now I have a skill that I did not think I would ever acquire.

After the training I would like to continue working with people who are more skilled in tailoring so that I can learn from their experiences before I open up my own tailoring stall.

Learning is a process and the seamstresses were always available to guide us whenever we needed help.
— Jovia

My name is Jovia Namulindwa. I got involved in the Sewing Our Futures Program through my guardian I told him about my passion for fashion and how one day I want to be a fashion designer. He then told me he knows of a good place that will help me achieve my dream.

Many changes have occurred since I joined the Sewing Our Futures Program. My self-esteem has been boosted. Previously, I was not a really shy girl, but I was unable to freely interact with people. During the program, we had a training with Coach Joan that was about being an assertive and confident girl and this helped me a lot because we got to learn about the various ways in which we can relate with people and how important it is for one to be confident.

Another change that occurred was the attainment of business skills. We were taken through a series of trainings on how one can manage their business and how they can be better at what they do. I believe this information will help me in my journey of being a fashion designer.

I have also acquired tailoring skills. Previously, I knew just the simple things such as sewing with a needle and thread. But now, I can use a machine and I know how to make skirts, dresses and shirts.

At the start, I was a little bit timid and I did not think I would be good at tailoring. I had no skills in tailoring. I used to see the seamstresses making dresses, skirts, shirts and bags, but I never imagined I would be able to make such products on my own.

The seamstresses started by teaching me the basics of tailoring: how measurements are taken and how to know how much material is needed to tailor a given product.

I am happy to say that I am now good at tailoring. I can make a product like a dress on my own without necessarily being helped by the seamstresses. My pace in tailoring is much faster than it was previously and I am teaching my siblings at home how to tailor. We even started a small business together!


Every purchase with Mazuri Designs profits the skills development and training of these young women. If you would like to place an order for clothing or accessories, please visit this page for more information.