In February 2015, Bread and Water for Africa UK was able to collaborate with our partners in Burundi, the Centre for Help and Protection of Children (CAPE), to launch a new initiative: a sewing training and income generating project for women in northern Bujumbura.

Bread and Water for Africa UK has partnered with CAPE for several years, primarily focusing upon school and nutrition projects for children and their parents. Burundi is the third poorest country in the world and due to the civil war that killed so many, destroyed the country’s infrastructure, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, many individuals and families were removed from their homes and now live in internally displaced peoples (IDP) campsites in Bujumbura. Many of the children and families served by CAPE reside in these camps.

Per our philosophy of “sustainability”, we prioritise self-sufficiency for all of our partners and their projects as components of their ultimate vision of change. CAPE has now reached a stage in its programming that allows them to begin the development of an income-generating project to supplement its efforts to bring education to nearly 200 children each year.

This sewing initiative will train thirty women from vulnerable families – they are primarily mothers that have children who attend CAPE’s school in the Murukaza zone. This allows CAPE to vet the participants and keep in more regular contact with each woman.

These women will receive training in the profession of sewing in order to improve their livelihoods by providing them with the tools they need to establish their own small businesses or find external employment as a seamstress. This project will also develop a sewing workshop that can serve new groups of women on a regular basis.

The benefits of this project are broad and encompassing. The new skills each woman learns helps to enhance her position in her household and in society through the eventual income she is able to earn for her family. It also ensures that children are not taken out of class to help their families earn a living by farming or begging. And finally, the sewing workshop eventually will support itself and eventually contribute a percentage of its profits to the operation of the local school.

Currently, this project is in Phase 1: workshop construction. The actual trainings will begin in July 2015 and we look forward to assessing the success and impact of this significant project.