Bethel School of Dressmaking
- Bethel School of Dressmaking
The Bethel School of Dressmaking was started in 1996 under the umbrella of Homecare Spiritual Fellowship (HSF). This project was birthed after Kuwinda slum in Karen went up in flames in 1995.
This rendered the slum dwellers without the basic necessities including shelter, clothing and food; having no alternative they resulted to the best way they knew how; borrowing. It is during this time that Homecare met some of the slum dwellers and decided to empower them with skills that could help them earn a living. The Project was later relocated to HSF Head Office at Kabarnet Road in 2011.
This program aims at empowering the youth mainly from Kibera slums. We train about 20 students every year in dressmaking and also equip them with the word of God. Many of them have received salvation and are rooted in the word. The trainees sit for Government Trade Test and each graduate is given a sewing machine upon completion of this course. This empowers and equips them to be able to start their own income generating activities back in their communities.
Impact story: Jafet Kisundi Mizigo
Meet 30 year old Jafet Mizigo, an enthusiastic student at our dressmaking class. At first, he seems like any other young man, and any other student in the class, maybe a little shyer than the rest, but on a glance, you realize that something is amiss. Well, Jafet is deaf, and only communicates through sign language.
He was born in Migori district in Isbani and currently lives in Kibera with one of his sisters. His father passed away in 2011 and his mother lives back in Migori. He has six other siblings, 3 brothers and 3 other sisters besides the one he lives with.
Jafet sat for his KCPE back in 2007 and managed to get 200 marks, though he did not proceed with school, his dream did not end there. A few years later, a friend volunteered to teach him skills in mechanics and driving. He faithfully attended the mechanic training for one year during which he also went for driving classes for two months. But he could not follow the training to completion because of several challenges. First, he could not afford the driving test fees and other related requirements like payment for the drivers licence and photos. He also had to walk a long distance daily from his home to Kayole where he was being trained, and though at first he was enthusiastic, in time he could not sustain the daily exhaustion. It also happened that his relationship with the older sister he was living with then went sour and he had to go back upcountry for sometime.
After a while, one of his other sisters was willing to host him, in Kibera still. His niece, who was an old student of Bethel dressmaking class introduced him to us. Jafet was very excited on joining the class, and has shown great interest in learning. He is in his second year and so far, the teacher affirms that compared to other students who can hear, Jafet is extremely talented especially in the practical part of the class. He occasionally brings in worn out uniform and bags or other clothes from his niece for repair. Though he struggles slightly with the theory, the teacher is positive that Jafet will catch up, and has no doubt that he will pass the government trade test when he sits for it at the end of the year.
Jafet was at one time married to a beautiful lady. But as misfortune would have it, his wife was raped and because of the trauma, she separated from her husband. He now lives with his sister in kibera where they share one small room.
One of the challenges that Jafet currently faces, among others, is food. His sister so far being the breadwinner, sometimes refuses to give him food, and Jafet often goes hungry.
Upon completion of his training, Jafet’s heart is set upon leaving Kibera and heading back to his rural home to put up a dressmaking shop. He cites that rent is cheaper and the rooms bigger, and that life is generally cheaper there. He hopes that when that time comes, he can get the necessary support to help him settle.
Impact story: Robert Wafula
Wafula is a night guard. He works all night long then comes to the school in the morning. Wafula says he was motivated to join the course by his desire to have a better life. Wafula is always the first student to get to class and as his course instructor says, he is the most hardworking student. Having passed his grade 3 and Grade 2 tests, he now wants to pursue and do grade 1 test. Meanwhile, he has started getting orders from schools in his village and he makes school uniforms and sends them upcountry to his wife to sell. He is also looking for a stall where he can put up his business. He is still multitasking as a night guard because he still wants to get a little more to take care of his family. He says he wants to get all the certificates in dressmaking so that he can be marketable enough.