By Moses Muwulya, Communications Officer
Before starting our interview, Sarah Nanyondo requests me to keep it as short as possible! Why? She needs to work on her customers’ clothes. “I don’t want to be the kind of tailors who don’t work on customers’ clothes in time.It is a bad business practise”
And indeed, a pile of clothes on a table beside her sewing machine, premised in her ‘sitting room’ justifies her plea.
The 20-year-old, then goes on to share her story of change from a miserable primary seven drop out and teenage mother to now a skilled tailor who ably sustains herself.
” When I dropped in primary seven due to vulnerability,I wished to have vocational skills, but this, too, was not possible making it hard for me survive and my little son” She recalls
But in 2016, her wish came to reality. She met Kitovu Mobile DREAMS coordinators who were looking for AGYW to enroll the on the project.
DREAMS is an initiative used by Kitovu Mobile to implement high-quality combination prevention to adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 15-24 years to address the structural drivers that directly or indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk.
Such AGYW are equipped with sustainable skills, including hair dressing, tailoring, knitting, crafts, soap making and bakery. They are also trained in saving to start up business, reproductive health and building their resilience to fight HIV.
Nanyondo says upon getting this opportunity, she didn’t hesitate to join “I joined Kagamba safe space and specialized in tailoring and emerged a tailor after two years of training.
But along the way,she says, she met so many challenges. Many of many of her colleagues with whom she joined,gave up and to settle for casual jobs and relying on men .
Treating this chance as the only solution for her woes,having got tired of men who don’t even take up their responsibilities,Nanyondo says she had to persevere
“I needed to be a self sustaining woman and this was only possible if I had skills. My friends nicknamed ‘ ‘miss never give up’ and they could shout at me on my way to and from the safe space,” the seemingly reserved Nanyondo shares.
Later,she completed the two-year training and graduated in 2018, getting sewing machine as start-up kit.
Motivated by her passion to work, and ably take care of her child, Nanyondo didn’t wait to have established premises; she premised her business at home. “It is where my customers find me” She earns how much a day/month.
“I am so indebted for Kitovu Mobile for enrolling me on the DREAMS program where I got the golden chance to acquire skills which I had longed for for after dropping out of school”
To diversify income, ‘Ms never give up” wants to give more meaning to her nickname by having another small business to get capital and expand the business.