A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

Sherifa

By Patience Obour, Ghana Micro-credit Program Officer

In rural Ghana, it is a common sight to see school children in torn uniforms. Some of the uniforms are torn due to aging, others by accident as the children play. Most parents struggle to afford two uniforms per child every year. This situation which has compelled the government to promise a free supply of school uniforms.

Example of a torn uniform

This pledge goes unfulfilled and students are often in tattered uniforms. It is embarrassing for the children and affects their self-confidence, especially the girls. Charlotte from Beposo told our Teen Girls Club Coordinator that she was absent from school last month because her dress was torn.

A mended uniform

Finding a solution: helping people help themselves!
In June of 2018, members of the SHI Teen Girls Clubs in Bedabour, Beposo, and Timeabu were taught the art of sewing. For most of the girls, it was their first time learning to stitch, but they caught on quickly and were successful in their handiness. The girls threaded their needles and practiced different patterns and runs of stitching. At the end of the lesson, every one of them could sew a running stitch and star stitch on their own. The pride on their faces showed just how much they cherished these newly acquired skills.

Sherifa, a JHS1 student from Timeabu, showed exceptional interest in the exercise. She enjoyed learning the stitches and told the instructor, “This will help me in life.

A few weeks after the training, Sherifa noticed a small hole in her school uniform and stitched it up immediately. She told the Coordinator “In the past, this hole would grow bigger. My mother would be very upset with me and pay a seamstress to mend it.” Sherifa is proud of her work and so happy to be able to do it by herself. Since then, she has helped friends and neighbors stitch their clothing. She hopes to continue to pass on her knowledge and skills to others, contributing to both her household and community’s income.

Sherifa mending clothes

Sherifa’s generosity shows! As she shares her knowledge, more students will be able to mend their torn clothes and feel proud in their uniforms. They will no longer be teased and can concentrate fully on their education. And, valuable family resources which would have been spent mending torn clothes can go into more productive ventures, improving their income and providing better care for the children.

Teaching young girls life skills like sewing creates a self-reliant generation, equipped with confidence, talents, and gifts to offer to the world. These qualities will help lead them along a successful life path.

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