Women learn skills to help themselves

The women who completed the sewing course show off some of their work.

Fifteen unemployed women have a better shot at finding work or starting their own businesses thanks to a training project they signed up for in Gatesville.

They completed either a sewing or hairdressing course through The Women’s Circle, a network of learning centres across several low-income neighbourhoods. The initiative was started in 2006. Its office is based in Gatesville, and its work is supported by the Institute for International Cooperation of the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband, more commonly known as DVV International.

DVV International provides worldwide support for youth and adult education. It is funded by the German government, the European Union and various donors.

The women who graduated on Thursday August 26 are part of a pilot project run by The Women’s Circle. They will continue to receive support from organisation, whether they need help updating their CVs or using the facilities to sew or do someone’s hair.

Vanessa Reynolds, a programme coordinator for The Women’s Circle, said: “What we found is that many people have not completed their schooling, which leads to youth unemployment, and we cannot ignore it. It’s a women’s issue, as many women are ultimately breadwinners. Not all are interested in book learning, so what do we do then? This is where skills training comes in. We still do theory, but we simplify it. The training is free for the unemployed youth and our first group of students have graduated.”

Apart from the practical training, the participants are also taught business skills.

Tiffany Coster, from Eastridge, matriculated last year and has been unemployed since. She was among the seven who graduated from the hairdressing course.

“Hairdressing is my passion, and I always wanted to do it, but financial challenges did not make it possible for me to study it before. This course gave me the confidence boost I needed. I am looking forward to opening my own business and studying more,” she said.

Charné Jansen from, Statice Heights in Kewtown, also struggled to find a job after matriculating in 2019.

“I can’t wait to open my own salon,” she said.

Patricia Rayners, from Kewtown, said she had always wanted to make clothing, and now she was looking forward to earning an income from it.

Nabeelah Davids, from Statice Heights, said she thought that she was “not clever enough” to learn anything.

“The facilitators were very patient with us, and I am so grateful for that. I never knew I would be able to learn to sew, although it is something I had wanted to do for a long time.”

Amiera Hendricks, one of the trainers, worked in a factory as a seamstress for 28 years. She said she was glad to pass on her knowledge.

“It is such a privilege to see how the students have grown – from not being able to sew at all, to now sewing a garment on their own.”

Thirty people have already registered for the next course, which starts today, Wednesday September 1.

Ms Reynolds said transport was a problem because many of the women did not live near Gatesville, where the training is done.

If you can assist, or would like to know more about the training, contact Amina Rajap at 061 488 7435.

From back left, are, Mushfiqah Visagie, Charné Jansen, Rafeeka Abrahams, Rushkaa Meyer, and Rabia Meyer. In front, kneeling, from left, are, Roshay Miller and Tiffany Coster, who all completed the hairdressing course.
Norma Medell and Amiena Hendricks are two of the trainers.