Empowering women and girls to End Poverty

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 1, which is No Poverty, can only be achieved through combined effort and intentional actions to reach out to those who are vulnerable, providing economic empowerment and sustainability plans for them. In a bid to contribute to the alleviation of Poverty in rural communities in Ondo State, Nigeria, 20 young vulnerable girls are being trained on skills that will make them self-reliant.

BIMMYBROWN Fashion Line, in collaboration with Kids &Teens Resource Centre, (K&TRC) organized a fashion skill acquisition program for vulnerable girls and young women.

The training program tagged “IMPACT BY BIMMYBROWN” is an intervention aimed at providing 6-months Fashion Design training for vulnerable girls and young women in rural communities. The first phase, which aimed at providing the training for 20 girls lasted for one month (4 weekends), at the end of the training, most of the girls did excellently well and were qualified for the 5 months intensive training course, that commenced on Monday, 17th February, 2019.

The first training started on the 19th of January with 22 girls in attendance from different communities in Akure Ondo State, Nigeria. According to a quick survey conducted through a pre-test, 90% of them had no background knowledge on sewing, of the 10% who had a background knowledge, some had a parent or sibling who sews and others had already started learning the skill few months back but had stopped half way due to lack of funds or general inconsistency.

The facilitators, Jimoh Rukayat Oyebimpe and Olubode Itunuoluwa Christianah who are also volunteers at K&TRC run the BimmyBrown Fashion line; a highly respected and patronized business in Akure, Ondo state. They offered their services free of charge to train the vulnerable girls on fashion designing.

The girls were mobilized with the support of BEE Enterprises; an organization that develops the entrepreneurship spirit in young people. Stipends for transportation from their various houses to the training venue were provided to encourage them and ensure they don’t stop midway.

The last 2 weekends and the first 2 weekends in the month of January and February respectively were set aside for the training. On the 10th of February, 14 of the 22 girls who began the training and were consistent throughout the classes graduated with basic knowledge in sewing.

INTERMEDIATE OUTCOME…
By the second weekend of the training, 80% of the girls could pedal the sewing machine and make simple A-LINE pattern on materials. They could take measurements and were given the assignment to take as many measurements as they could find.
By the third weekend, 70% of them could make simple A-LINE gowns which they did in groups of 4. With excitement, these young women set to work and made sure their gowns were fit to wear, their show of enthusiasm was very contagious and even though funds were dwindling to continue the program, we were excited about building the lives of these women, it was a tangible and measurable impact.

The fourth weekend saw them measuring and cutting materials on their own, they were however given personal projects to cut and sew skirts for themselves from scratch to finish, this time not in a group but as an individual, which they were also able to accomplish.

LONG TERM IMPACT…

The desired impact we want to see is to help these girls setup their fashion design business so they can fend for themselves, their families and other girls that can learn under them.

A mini graduation has been done for the 14 young women that completed the first month of the training.

NEXT STAGE….
The girls are to resume for the 5 months intensive trainings from the 17th February, 2019, 8am to 5pm daily.
Training will be held from Monday to Friday every week for the next five (5) months and at the end of this period, we intend to set them up with sewing machines and sewing kits. BimmyBrown has also been given the opportunity for some to work directly with her as seamstresses, receiving monthly salaries.

WAY FORWARD…
We intend to support the girls selected for the 5 months intensive training with transport fares, however, we would require the support of organizations and individuals to make this dream a reality for the girls. We hope that before the end of the program, we would be able to raise money to set up the girls with sewing machines and kits.
Transportation cost for the girls for the duration of the 5 months intensive training is 100,000 naira. This is very achievable if we can get donors within a short while.
One sewing machine cost between 35,000 to 40,000 naira, if we set a budget of 50,000 naira per girl to buy both sewing machine and other sewing essentials needed to set them up, then it is achievable.

To be a part of this success story, you can either do both, that is, transportation and setting up the girls after the training, or pick either of these 2 options. We look forward to hearing from you as we all join hands to achieve the #SDGs

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