For lasting change to come to any vulnerable population, the local community needs to be equipped to build their own future, and have independent financial stability. In Malawi, African Enterprise's tailoring school enables women to do just that.
The school gives women their own skills, and the power to participate in their community and shape local culture.
This year, 20 women have already graduated with the skills needed to have their own textiles business, and manage their own household and finances.
The school sees women who've experienced trauma, poverty and abuse be shown a path forward to break out of the destructive cycle. Through trauma counselling, prayer, and daily group devotionals the women are supported mentally and spiritually as well.
Zione Mtoso, a 47 year old mother of three, is currently in training and said, "Before coming to the African Enterprise [school] I was engaged into malpractices such as prostitution while I had my second born child.
"I could be beaten by men whenever I asked for payment after sleeping with me. I could sometimes meet a man and agree with him to give me some money after sleeping with me but later he could just leave me and off he went.
"When I shall graduate from here, I shall firstly be running my tailoring business at home and later secure a place for my business... I thank God for having led me to this place where I am preparing my reliable future," said Zione.
Fellow student Triphonia Mgalima was looking for an income to support her and her husband when their farm was struggling, and said through the school, "I could interact with fellow women from different places and share experiences amongst ourselves such that, my present life is different from the past.
"I have been able to acquire sewing skills with which I am able to make a shorts, shirt, dress, skirt, blouse and many others things.
"I thank God for providing a vision to African Enterprise ministry to transform vulnerable women spiritually, socially and economically."
This year's graduates are ready for what's next
Memory Mithi said, "I am so grateful to African Enterprise for what it has done to me. When I was joining this vocational school I was not sure that I could manage to gain the skills, but here I am now graduating. This is a great chance because I have now something which will make my life easy since I will be able to generate income for my basic needs and no longer relying much on my relatives."
Another 2019 graduate, Elizabeth Mankhaule said, "I was desiring that one day I wish I could be a tailor too when I saw women being transformed through this programme. Though I was working as a security guard, it was not my wish because the work is risky, more especially to a lady like me."
She continued: "I thank God for His grace which has led me to reach at this level and be able to acquire the sewing skills.
"I will work hard to make sure that I produce good fruits out of what I have learnt. I hope to make my life different from where I was before."
As these women prepare to start their own business and apply their skills, African Enterprise will continue to monitor their progress, and support them as their business grows.
Speaking with 2016 graduate Edinna Saizi, African Enterprise heard how she has been able to generate her own income, impacting both her family and community.
"Due to this charitable gift, I am able to generate income which enables me to meet my basic needs," she said.
"I am able to get something which keeps my life going. With part of the generated money, I am able to help my mother who stays alone since she is a widow, I am also able to meet my family's basic needs as well as contributing to church activities."
Find out more about African Enterprise Missions at https://africanenterprise.com.au/missions/
Courtesy of Press Service International