Starting from scratch to mastering the art of sewing school bags
April 19, 2018
Do you remember, when Kaz´O´zah Keza took off with “Building Bridges in Burundi (BBB)“? It is a 5-year-project launched at the beginning of January 2017 with the funding of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in direct partnership with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) together with other fellow local organizations, Biruturaba & Thars. By transferring basic business knowledge and practical skills to vulnerable Burundian youth, we are helping to build social and economic resilience. The project is concentrating on four different areas: the city of Bujumbura, Nyanza Lac, Kayogoro and Makamba.
Only recently, Kaz´O´zah Keza successfully finished one of its BBB ventures in the Makamba commune. Ten young, emerging artisans (7 girls & 3 boys) have been trained by our project facilitators Thierry, Chantalle and Dieudonné, who have been happy to witness that the hard work really paid off! “It is always exciting to see, how the youth are willing to translate new experiences into skills, thereby unfolding their true potential!“, states Thierry.
Within a period of one month only, they have been going through two essential teaching cycles: one focusing on entrepreneurship skills and topical self-awareness to install a prior business mindset, and the other one on learning how to sew school bags.
Starting from scratch, the trainees “didn´t know how to pedal the machine, never even understood the separate parts of it and their concrete use“, but now they are excited to see, what they have eventually accomplished. “Not only have we managed to understand the purpose and exact functions of the sewing machines, but we have also mastered the skills of measuring, cutting, sewing and finishing a school bag. We are feeling like real professionals and as part of this sector“, said Ernest, one of the leading artisans.
During the final stages of the project, the artisans started creating an autonomous fashion cooperative with 5 different leaders, called “BIRASHOBOKA“. Birashoboka means “It is possible“, and is supposed to underline the validity and power of their dreams and achievements.
And indeed, it is possible: the Birashoboka group now regularly gathers once or twice a month, discusses further steps and puts aside 500 BIF (0,20 USD) per person, every time they meet. By now, they have managed to start up two projects of goat rearing and piggery of which the proceeds will be used for buying a total of 10 sewing machines to set up a fashion and design business in Makamba Centre. “We are keen, we are motivated and we want to change our lives for the better! We are artisans with a bright future! “