Rhona is tailoring her way to financial freedom

Rhona* is one of the parents we work with in the slum of Katanga. She shared how Hope For Life is supporting her on her journey to financial freedom.

1. How did you start this tailoring business?
I started after receiving training in tailoring from Hope For Life last year.

2. How did you come to know about Hope For Life (HFL) and the opportunity to train as a tailor?
HFL sponsors one of my brother’s child whom I stay with. When HFL staff came to register that child for sponsorship, they told me it wasn’t enough for them to help only the child without helping me, her caretaker, to be more financially self-reliant.

So, last year a number of us (parents) were given an opportunity to train in tailoring as a livelihood skill and about 5 of us managed to complete the training.

3. Had you ever done any tailoring before that training?
No.

 A jolly Rhona at work

A jolly Rhona at work

4. What kind of clothes do you sew?
I mostly sew women’s clothes. We were advised during the training to master one type of clothing before moving on to another. That way, my customers can make referrals to me confident I will do a great job. I also repair torn clothes.

 Rhona says she's able to sew most of these designs on a poster that hangs on one of the walls at her workplace.

Rhona says she's able to sew most of these designs on a poster that hangs on one of the walls at her workplace.

5. Was the training the only thing HFL offered you?
No. After the training, HFL gave me a sewing machine which I use today.

Also, when I have a confirmed order, especially during the Christmas season, but do not have enough money to buy the needed material for the job, HFL lends me money which I pay back immediately after I am paid by my customer.

And besides tailoring, HFL also gave me a loan to expand my first business of selling vegetables. The loan enabled me to buy the vegetables from the market in bulk which gives me a bigger profit margin from the sales.

 Rhona's vegetables stall

Rhona's vegetables stall

6. How have you benefited from this tailoring business?
The tailoring business has helped me expand my income. Before, I only looked at selling vegetables for income. But now, while I am waiting for my next customer for the vegetables, I can attend to my tailoring customers.

The materials I use for the small sewing jobs like the thread cost very little which means I take home, as profit, almost all the money I am paid.

*Parent’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

Interview conducted on 12/07/2018