#KSAC: Jocelyn's Training

The rain had eased off, just enough for me to hop and skip through the muddy, maze-like lanes of Katanga. I quickly got under the outdoor shelter, took off my shoes and walked into an active tailoring class. "Mwasuze Motya" ("Good morning everyone"), I said as I looked around trying to find a place to sit.

I often come here to the Livelihoods building, just to sit, watch and think about how far these women have come in the past year of training; their confidence with the machine, the fluidity they possess and the quality of workmanship that comes out at the end.

The seven women had managed to use up almost the whole room, as they designed and made their next item of clothing. Three women had pushed their workbench to the side of the room and had decided to spread their material out on the floor, while two were discussing designs by drawing on the whiteboard and the final two, including Jocelyn, were sat at their sewing machines, barefoot on the treadle, as they go back and forth between pushing on their heels and their toes. Not only was this a place for learning a new skill but it was also a social hub, a place where they could all enjoy a new hobby and have fun laughing and catching up at the same time.

When the sky had cleared up and the session ended, Jocelyn led Maureen (Livelihoods Officer) and I back through the narrow corridors with parents chatting in the front of their houses, children sitting on their knees, someone angrily shouting in the background, hopping over sleeping dogs before we opened out into a wider lane full of bustling activity. Jocelyn led us a bit further down the lane before we arrived at her shop, which was right opposite where she lives with her husband, two children, niece and nephew.

She showed me the shop that she has been running for the past couple of years, a fairly small room with shelves stacked full of all sorts of electrical goods, light-bulbs, cables and computer accessories. Jocelyn describes to me how before she joined the Livelihoods programme, her store wasn't bringing in enough money to support her family, made even tougher when she inherited her niece and nephew recently.

I wanted to learn tailoring so I could run my electrical business and work earning money with a sewing machine at the same time.
— Jocelyn

Jocelyn has received a loan from Hope for Life Katanga to help boost her electrical business and, not only has she been able to successfully repay her loan but she has also been able to help make life more comfortable for her family and even save enough to buy a sewing machine of her own for UGX 280,000 (£60).

Because the repayments on my loan were small I was able to use the extra money I was receiving from my business to pay for this sewing machines and now I am able to practice all the time and not just in class.
— Jocelyn

I will always remember Jocelyn's smile, as she tried to hide it with her hand, showing how shy she can be in her day to day life but today she walked to the seat behind the sewing machine in her shop, sat down and gave me the biggest smile that exuded confidence in her business and the new skill that she had worked so hard to gain. 

We need your help to kick-start more careers in Katanga. You can provide the materials, training and loans which give people like Jocelyn a real chance to become self-sustaining. If you are able to regularly donate to Kick-start a Career please fill in the form below. If not, that's okay, you can still improve lives in Katanga by giving a one-off donation by clicking on the donate button below or by sharing this blog post with as many people as possible!

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