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SOUTH AFRICA: 15 women graduate with sewing skills

Salesian Institute Youth Projects' "Stitch Ahead" program

Program participants receive items needed to start their own business


(MissionNewswire) Salesian Institute Youth Projects’ “Stitch Ahead” program, located in Cape Town, South Africa, recently graduated 15 women who completed the three-month sewing course, according to an article in The Southern Cross. Graduates will go on to start careers or their own entrepreneurial endeavors. At graduation, each participant received a kit that included fabrics and haberdashery items. The goal is to provide them with the necessary items to start a business.

The program, supported by the National Development Agency (NDA), empowers women, ages 18 to 35, to learn machine sewing to make a variety of products. As noted in the article, the training also includes learning to sew reusable sanitary pads, which is a pivotal step in addressing period poverty, an issue that impacts many women in South Africa.

In The Southern Cross article, Ardiel Soeker, NDA’s Western Cape provincial manager, said, “Persistent statistics underscore the alarming rates of youth unemployment across our nation. It is within this concerning context that the NDA ardently champions economic growth and the creation of job prospects for our young population. Our aim is to empower them to enhance not only their own lives but also uplift the communities they call home. As we extend our warmest wishes to these young women on their journey, we are committed, in partnership with the Salesian Institute Youth Projects, to diligently track their progress.”

The program, which started in 2022, also offers business development where students learn brand creation, logo design, letterhead development and digital business card creation. Students also learn digital platforms that enable them to market and operate small businesses successfully. These skills were taught for free by Company Partners, a company specializing in providing compliance services to a multitude of startup businesses.

Since 1910, the Salesian Institute Youth Projects has been helping homeless, unemployed and impoverished youth. Salesian missionaries provide shelter, education and workforce development services in an effort to meet the basic needs of the youth they serve while helping them break the cycle of poverty.

The Salesian Institute Youth Projects provides five main programs: an outreach program, a hostel for homeless youth, a learn-to-live education program and two workforce development programs. The programs are managed by a diverse group of individuals, and some live on the premises to support youth in the hostel and outreach programs.

Poverty is extensive in South Africa with more than half the population and more than 63% of children living below the poverty line, according to UNICEF. A significant percentage of the population struggles to survive on less than $1 a day. The country is plagued by high crime rates and violence against women and girls, and it has been the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS crisis in the world. There is an urgent need for education to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus and to help lift youth out of poverty.



Photo courtesy of Salesian Institute Youth Projects

Salesian Institute Youth Projects

Salesian Institute Youth Projects Facebook

Salesian Missions – South Africa

The Southern Cross – Salesian Institute Stitch Ahead Programme Empowers 15 Phenomenal Women

UNICEF – South Africa

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