22 Year Old Girl Helps Support Family
Somewhere in Dowa district, in a village called Lilambwe, there is a girl named Esinala. Every morning at 8 AM, she bids farewell to her parents, shoulders her bag and sets for Dzaleka Trading Centre – a journey that takes about an hour on foot. Although the trip is long and exhausting, Esinala keeps a smile on her face knowing that she will return home later that afternoon with some money.
Esinala has one of the dispensable skills in the community. She is a qualified tailor. She attained the qualification from our vocational training centre last year. With the tailoring skills, she got employed in a tailoring shop at Dzaleka Trading Centre, where she now obtains income that enables her to support her family meet some of the basic needs at home. In most Malawian villages, it is rare to find a female who has qualifications that can earn them an income. The case is not so different with Esinala’s village because there is a high rate of school drop outs among girls. Most girls do not progress to secondary schools, let alone to tertiary colleges.
Esinala is one of the very few that advanced past secondary and earned a tertiary qualification. Today, she tells a different story but how was it like prior to enrolling at There is Hope’s vocational school?
“When I wrote my secondary school examination, I had no idea what would come next.” She started, disclosing that her parents could not afford her college education. That meant she would be stuck at home with no immediate source of help for her post-secondary education. The 22 year old explained that this led to her staying idle at home, waiting for any opportunity to present itself.
That opportunity actually presented itself in the form of There is Hope’s vocational training programme. In 2016, Esinala heard that there was a chance to pursue a vocational course, at a heavily subsidized fee, through our training centre.
Her hopes surged.
“I applied for a tailoring course and I got a place at the centre.” Esinala stated. A couple of weeks after commencing the tailoring course Esinala was already drawing attention from neighbours back home. She disclosed that from the knowledge she gained in class, she made simple clothes for herself and her relatives, a thing which caught the eye of a few people.
“I had barely completed my course when I started getting orders to sew new clothes or patch old ones from neighbours and friends.” From the small orders she received, Esinala made a little earning that supported her as well as her family. For someone who had never made her own income before, this was something to boast about. Smiling, she said for the first time she could buy things like airtime without asking for money from her parents. Her tailoring skills not only captured neighbours, they also fascinated an established tailor at Dzaleka.
“A certain businessman who runs a tailoring shop at Dzaleka Trading Centre invited me to work in his shop.” Esinala revealed. This happened a month before she completed her course. After her graduation the girl immediately joined the shop. That is where she is currently working. That is the same shop that is earning the income she is using to help support her parents. The girl explained that her parents are very proud of the achievement. They should be. In most Malawian rural settings, females who have the ability to support their parents are highly treasured.
Esinala said she considers the tailoring skills she now possesses as “a gift There is Hope gave me.” So every morning at 8 AM when Esinala leaves home, she goes to Dzaleka where she works until noon. Then she returns home, with cash in her pockets.
(In the picture above, a student from our tailoring class showcases her skills during a practical session.)