“Mama Courage” training centre in Bugesera in Rwanda has opened!
Before that, the house was expanded with toilet facilities, barrier-free access, a hand-washing station in the entrance area and, of course, equipped with chairs, tables and sewing machines.
The teenage mothers come from the “extended neighbourhood” – for almost all young women, the centre is within easy walking distance.
Some have a small job in the mornings, e.g. as a laundress or cleaner in other households. We talked to each trainee and asked about their needs and wishes. The daily struggle for survival, for income for rent and food is existential. So for the mothers with morning jobs, we offer extra courses in the afternoon.
The majority of the trainees come in the morning and are taught general education and sewing in two rotating shifts. For this purpose, the morning group has been divided into two classes. One class consists of the young women who dropped out of school during their primary school years. Here, the focus is initially on the basic fundamentals such as reading, writing and arithmetic. Incidentally, this also applies to the afternoon group.
The students in the parallel class in the morning have at least completed primary school and some have spent a few years in secondary school. For them, the focus of general education is on calculation, English, entrepreneurship and “how to run a business” – because it is about nothing less than starting their own business and building a better future.
Regardless of the level of education, all groups are also taught sewing for at least 2 hours every day. The better the level of education, the more focus there will be on sewing education.
In the next room, children from 1 to 4 years are looked after. Currently 13 children come in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. Older children go to kindergarten or school. Some of the children in the care are still breastfed. Especially with the children who are no longer breastfed, we have to make sure that they are not malnourished.
Therefore, we are now trying to organise a daily meal with milk, fruits and porridge for them. This will ensure at least one healthy meal a day.
Because the mothers all come from very poor backgrounds and are on their own. Many of them have experienced violence. Every one of them is a single parent and almost all of the young mothers have been abandoned by their families – stigmatisation is a huge problem.
Our goal for the coming weeks is to build a small kiosk / show room on the street where the sewn products can then be sold. The proceeds will go to the young seamstresses.
We would be very happy if you would support the food programme to prevent malnutrition.