Cloth Fabrication Program Brings Hope to Vulnerable Women

A group of 25 young women are undergoing training program sponsored by the Workforce Development Authority (WDA) through the National Employment Program at Gaculiro Vocational Training Center in Kigali.

The program teaches underprivileged women the trade of cloth fabrication to help them earn a sustainable income in the future.

Most the beneficiaries have elementary school education past.

Deogratias Ndindiyimana, a tutor with Gaculiro Vocational Training Center says that going through this training will enable women to learn not only just how to fabricate, but they also get business and marketing skills for their products.”

The course covers modern cloth fabrication for a period of six months.

“We have seen testimonies of how this program is helpful to women. Majority of our students upon completion they soon get jobs or self-employment”.

While inspecting the school facility, Olivier Rwamukwaya, the Minister of State in charge of TVET who said Gaculiro Vocational Training Center should be a place to restore hope of livelihood among the women.

“This training gives women a sense of relief in many ways. It will give them a great sense of worth, that they’re going to be able to contribute to their families and change the current social status through income earned in sales,” Rwamukwaya said.

The courses are structured around lectures, open discussions and demonstrations delivered to small groups for a valuable, interactive learning experience.

During the inspection tour, Minister Rwamukwaya found students busy using cutting edge technologies for the textiles, fashion making.

 He also encouraged the training center to invest more in the production unit so as to generate revenues.

Rwamukwaya promised the school that the Ministry will play its part to improve the performance and requested the school administration to increase materials (consumables) to allow students in practical sessions.

 Rosete Nyirahagenaimana, 34, one of the trainees from Rutsiro district, said this training had made her believe she can have a better future and an independent life.

“Thank you WDA for a brilliant informative course. I have benefited immensely from the course, feel much better equipped now to do my job with more confidence” she said.

Another trainee, identified as Uwamaria plans to create an association of tailors with her colleagues, to enable them produce competitive and marketable products.

 “We were encouraged to use the skills we are acquiring to create employment opportunities for us and other people and the association will enable us to work together to this effect,” Uwamaria said

According to Jerome Gasana, WDA Director General said that by the time the students complete their training course, they are expected to make marketable and high end quality garments.

‘The program isn’t just teaching women important skills. Its helping them find a sense of value and produce products with quality’’ Gasana said.

Current WDA has a partnership with C&H Garments Company to train and employ at least 600 students in automatic computerized sowing machines in embroidery before being taken on for work at the factory. He also noted that with more skills acquired in cloth fabrication, the country’s young garments sector is likely to grow, thus reduce dependence on imported clothing resulting into an increase in import receipts which affect trade balance.

Most of the clothing used within the country comes from outside markets, implying that Rwanda has to depend on imported garments.

But with growing skills in cloth fabrication, it is expected that garments sector will increase volumes of clothing done within the country.