Tingathe Empowers Out-of-School Youth in Peri-Urban Zones

Alumni site visits are among the cherished practices at Tingathe. They give us the opportunity to assess the impact of our programs on beneficiaries. Witnessing firsthand how our efforts have positively influenced people’s lives provides insights into what is working well and where improvements can be made.

Recently, we had the privilege of visiting Nenani Rouben in Kauma Area in Lilongwe, one of the beneficiaries of the Tingathe Training Programme. This program empowers out-of-school youth in peri-urban zones through various vocational courses which foster a productive community life.

Nenani graduated from our program in November 2023, and she studied Tailoring and Fashion Design. Prior to joining Tingathe, she had a passion for tailoring and fashion design. However, financial constraints within her family clouded her hopes of realizing her dream. Despite attempting to seek assistance from relatives to enroll in a tailoring and fashion design school, her efforts were futile. Nenani’s aspirations were further challenged by the pervasive poverty and unemployment prevalent among youths in peri-urban zones, where social capital is weakest. As a young woman, she faced discouraging comments from some members of her community, doubting her ability to achieve her dream. Despite these obstacles, Nenani persisted until she learned about the Tingathe Training Programme in 2023.

Enrolling in the program under scholarship support from the Segal Family Foundation, Imago Dei Foundation, Old Mutual Malawi, and Azurit Foundation, Nenani graduated equipped with skills in tailoring and fashion design, financial literacy, sexual reproductive health and rights, as well as leadership and entrepreneurship. Her graduation brought joy to her relatives, prompting them to contribute toward purchasing a sewing machine. This investment marked the genesis of Nenani’s entrepreneurial venture. She established her own workshop where we had the pleasure of meeting her during our visit.

Despite the business being in its nascent stage, Nenani has already experienced a noticeable improvement in her quality of life. She can now afford basic necessities such as, food, soap and clothes and provides assistance to people in her community through the business. She told us that wakes up every morning with joy, knowing she has a job and is living her dream. She proudly embraces her role as a tailor and fashion designer, identifying the importance of her skills in her community.

“I understand that some people might not consider tailoring and fashion design to be a desirable profession, but to me, it is everything. I have always had the aspiration to become a skilled tailor and fashion designer. My dream is to be among those who craft clothes of different styles, dressing people in garments that reflect their personality. Today, I am filled with pride because of the support I received from Tingathe. It reinforces my sense of importance within my community, as clothing is a universal necessity. Regardless of one’s financial status, everyone dresses, and behind every garment lies the creativity and craftsmanship of tailors and fashion designers,” she expressed confidently.

Looking ahead to 2024, Nenani envisions growth for her business. She plans to purchase an additional machine to facilitate the employment of an assistant. At Tingathe, we nurture entrepreneurship, community leadership, and job creation among our beneficiaries. We are happy to witness Nenani’s progress since her graduation and are confident that our future visits will reveal even greater achievements. We are also pleased to empower women economically with our initiatives which is in line with this year’s theme for International Women’s Day, which is “Count Her In: Accelerating Gender Equality through Economic Empowerment.”

As Tingathe, we say thank you to our valued partners: Imago Dei Foundation, Azurit Foundation, Old Mutual Malawi, and Segal Family Foundation, among others. They are helping us build a society where the most vulnerable and marginalized are equipped to transition out of acute poverty, build resilience, invest, and thrive.

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