Fatuma – Trained tailor…now a trainer

Monday 19 March 2018

By Caroline Kwamboka and James Kabau

Fatuma sewing at her shop in Mandera

21-year-old Fatuma is a mother of two living in Takaba area of Mandera County.Fatuma has never gone to school – her parents could not afford to pay for her education. She was married off early and was a stay at home mum until 2016 when she heard about Save the Children sponsored Enterprise Based Technical Vocational Education and Training (EBTVET). In 2017, Fatuma was enrolled and trained in tailoring under the EBTVET programme. 

When she graduated, Save the Children gave Fatuma a sewing machine to motivate her. Fatuma is now a professional tailor and has collaborated with Save the Children to provide training for more students pursuing tailoring under the EBTVET programme in Mandera.  

Fatuma at home with her husband Ibrahim and baby

Story in beneficiary’s own words:

“After joining the programme I felt more confident as a woman. Before the training, I used to feel useless because  I had never gone to school.”

“Thanks to Save the Children because after my graduation they gave me the best surprise ever. They gave me a sewing machine to start my business; it was the best gift ever.”

“I immediately looked for a small stall to do my tailoring business, at first it was quite discouraging because I did not even have clothes to sew. My community was supportive; they would bring cloths for me to sew and now my business has grown!”

“I have trained two girls so far and it’s been a success. Since I am willing to train other women and girls, my community has fully supported my business.”

“I want to equip other girls with tailoring skills, so that they can earn money from it. Ibrahim (referring to her husband) and I have plans of importing materials for selling to the community this will help to increase our sources of income.” 

Ibrahim, Fatuma’s husband says: 

“We never had enough income because I was the only one working. I do casual jobs in Mandera town. When my wife graduated, I was proud of her. Unfortunately, I was not earning enough to sustain our family so I could not support her to start a business.”

The sewing machine she was given by Save the Children helped us a lot! Her business has grown and her passion to sew a variety of is inspiring.

“I also took a tailoring course separately in Nairobi. She saved a good chunk of money from the business and I used the money to buy another sewing machine and came back with it from Nairobi. Now we are running the business together.”

Zainab, a lady trained by Fatuma:

“I joined the EBTVET programme this year. I have been able to practice tailoring in Fatuma’s shop instead of staying home. My mother is very happy and supported me to continue with this job.” 

Project information

Save the Children through the Breakthrough Strategic Investment Fund (BSIF) project has supported apprenticeship-based training for out of school youth aged between 16 and 25 years in Mandera County. 

The project aims to improve the knowledge and skills for the out of school youth from poor and vulnerable households. The youth undergo training for 4 to 6 months in different artisanal and craft skill areas.

We have so far supported 508 youth to acquire vocational skills, which they are using to earn a livelihood and support their families. We collaborated with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) to have the youth certified.