Our Where Needed Most fund helps programs that didn’t receive much funding support. Last year, we boosted a job training cause allowing more than 220 young women to participate in a program that teaches women how to make goods from recycled materials. Without the boost, only 80 women could participate.
I first learned about the APE training center 26 years ago, when I was a 14-year old girl with braids. My first encounter with the harshness of reality was when my parents pulled me out of school. My teachers said I was clever and intelligent and tried to talk my parents out of this decision. It was so hard for me to see the other children wearing their (school) uniforms on their way to and from school. They passed by my house every day. I could not understand why my father didn’t let me go to school any more. Only when I grew up, I understood that this was because we were poor and he couldn’t afford it. In these circumstances, the education was not the priority, it was important for us to have food on the table. But I learned about the APE training center. The first time I went there, everyone greeted me warmly, and allowed me to choose what craft I would like to learn–I chose rug weaving. But I also had to learn basic reading and writing. After training in rug making for 6 months, I realized I preferred patchwork, which fascinated me. Creating something beautiful from the old scraps was very exciting for me. I learned that craft very quickly because I love to create my own designs. I soon realized that I needed to develop myself more and learn new skills, so I sign up for the full literacy course at APE so I could get a formal certificate. After that I enrolled in preparatory level classes and I am grateful I could do all of this at APE while I was working at the same time.
Now I am the assistant to the director of the patchwork unit. I have the responsibility to supervise the quality of the products made by women home producers. We have 120 women who make a variety of products from large bedspreads to the smallest items. I also decided to learn computer skills to be able to document all the designs we produce and have a data base for our unit. I can now meet guests who come to visit APE and better explain our work. Through all this, I have gained much self-confidence. Being able to make income also helped me have better standing with my family-with my husband and my children. The work helped me make an income for myself and feel like I have a personality.
It also enabled my parents to take better care of my youngest sister. I didn’t want her to have to go through the same hard experience like me. I pushed my parents to keep her in school. I made her come to APE and take lessons, so she could learn and stay in school. She is now in her last year of university and will graduate this summer. She is also working at APE and is leading the afternoon scholastic improvement classes.
Your gift Cause 30 helps to ensure all Causes succeed and more families have a way out of poverty.
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