Serah U. is a beneficiary of the fashion and designing entrepreneurial skills who heard about the program from a friend and developed interest. Upon commencement of the program she discovered her passion and love for sewing which made her put in so much time and efforts in learning. She stays up at night to put into practice what she learns in class and her performance endear the trainers to her as well as other beneficiaries. "When I started, I knew I could start making money while I was learning since I am a university graduate with no job. I devoted lots of time, had so many sleepless nights because I knew it was going to be worthwhile. Today, I do not regret all the sacrifices. I never knew it was possible to become a better fashion designer in six months but the measures put by the organization and the enthusiasm and dedication of the trainers made it possible. I am forever grateful". Sarah' remake during the presentation of award to her as the best graduating fashion and designing student. Serah encouraged girls still in the program to develop passion in what they are doing and turn every challenges to opportunities as challenges often times as distractions. Serah is currently earning a living from the skill she required from the organization and has made a pledge to train other girls who may not be opportune to be part of the program. She however stated that set-up tools poses as a major challenge to her and she will appeal to the organization and donors to support girls like her with set-up grants.
Present participants of the 7th batch of training have expressed satisfaction on their level of knowledge so for on the various skills being taught. Interaction with the participants revealed the following: Jennifer (25) - ’I had a friend who took part in the training last year, I admired her shoes- I could only imagine a girl making shoes for herself, so I was determined to register for the next batch. So far, I have learnt how to make women cooperate shoes, sandals and slippers and I have started making money from the little I have learnt. I could imagine what will happen upon completion of the program’. My plan after completion of the program is to further my learning and open a shoe academy name ‘Essilocherish shoe Academy’. Ability (23) - “My friend Ruth who is a beneficiary of the sewing years ago told me about the programme and I was motivated to take part because of how young she is but already making money for herself and a lot of customers appreciates her styles. So I decided to join Ruth, now though I am not done with the training, I have started making simple styles of skirt for myself. I plan to be serious with my fashion and designing skills just like Ruth, I will raise money to get a sewing machine as I can be independent. Gloria (25) – “I came with the plans to learn more about fashion designing- though I am in the fashion and designing session of the skills, I love the fish farming session. I have developed interest in the business and I hope to start up my pond soon enough before the completion of the programme so after the programme I have what to engage myself in since fingerlings take about 6 months to be ready’. Feedback from resource persons revealed that the beneficiaries are enthusiastic about the training, willing to learn and are focused.
To increase access to 100 young females to entrepreneurial skills, financial and business management and other technical support services for take-off to enhance self-reliance towards alleviating poverty, we held the sixth batch of the entrepreneurship skills training for out-of-school young girls between the ages of 15 and 25 to empower them economically thus reducing the level of exploitation and its attendant consequences.
Soon after the six months training on fish farming, Glory (one of the most outstanding beneficiaries) started her fish pond behind her father’s compound to assist her parents raise funds for her school.
With her parents support, she was able to start up her farm with three thousand (3,000) fingerlings in which she was able to make enough money for the upkeep of the family and her education. Her profits has moved from #25,000 to 40,000 as she does not only sell within her neighbourhood but market, restaurants and she does home delivery to her customers.
Glory has not regretted being a part of the skills training and having to start up the business. According to her, the only challenge is the mortality rate which she has put in measures to tackle the challenge. She encouraged other young female to take part in the GPI entrepreneurship training and take it seriously. Glory is a university undergraduate whose part of her education fund is from her fish farm business.
Ruth is one of the girls who enrolled in the GPI Girls’ Entrepreneurship programme in 2016. Before the programme, she struggled with low self-esteem and low income to cater for herself. After acquiring sewing skills she has this story to tell:
“My name is Ruth Sunday, I am 19 years old. Before participating in the sewing skills program in 2016, I could neither cut nor sew any dress. In three months, I could sew and started having a few customers. I was given the opportunity to train in an Empowerment Programme where I earned up to 300,000 Naira. I was also awarded “Best Fashion & Design Student of the Year” by the programme. Over time, I have had increase in sales. In one day, I make up to two dresses, however, as an entrepreneur, I am sometimes stressed.
My self-esteem is greatly improved by being a part of the GPI Entrepreneurship Program. I have a passion for sewing and that keeps me busy. I am satisfied with the jobs I handled and because I make my own wages, I can buy things I need which gives me some level of independence. Being in fashion design helps me to be creative and innovative. I strongly believe that this programme is impactful as it empowers young girls to be self-reliant.”
Shoemaking is an enterprise that is common among the male folks in Nigeria. In view of this, Girls’ Power Initiative integrated shoemaking as one component of her entrepreneurship training programme to encourage out-of-school girls to acquire shoemaking skills. Over the past three years, over 150 girls have acquired shoemaking skills through the programme.
The men from the shoe making field these girls often interacted with before and during internship were surprised to discover that they made shoes. Some of the girls have reported that shoe-making can be a very dirty business! Even when they wear protective wears they sometimes get their clothes dirty and it’s impossible to do the work with fake fingernails which is the style of many young Nigerian women.
Nevertheless, shoemaking is one of the lucrative enterprises for graduates of the programme especially those who have set up their own business with support from GPI. Joy, one of the shoemakers, has her story to share:
“I enjoy making shoes as it has become part of my life. I acquired shoemaking skills after eight months training. I can make slippers, sandals and covered shoes for girls and women. I have set-up a shoemaking business with the grant GPI provide. I now have more customers and increased sales compared to when I started four months ago. Every month I earn up to 30,000NGN on the average which helps me to fend for myself and family members. I thank GPI for this support.”
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