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Sewing Out of Poverty

Tizita is now running her own business thanks to the vocational training she received as a sponsored child.

sewing business

When Tizita was taught to sew as a teenager, she knew she was being given an exciting opportunity. ”I always wanted to learn embroidery”, she explains. What she didn’t know is that she was securing her future.

From a vulnerable girl-child born into a community plagued by drug abuse, poor sanitation, food insecurity and limited access to safe water, Tizita is now a successful business woman. In a town where few children consistently attend school, her life has been transformed by the educational opportunities she received through Compassion sponsorship.

Tizita first entered the gates of Holeta Mekane Yesus Child Development Centre in Oromia, Ethiopia at the age of six. As a timid, petite girl, she was extremely nervous at the prospect of attending this project behind the church gates.

Her apprehension didn’t last for long however. She soon discovered that her Compassion project was like a second home. She felt welcomed by the project staff and began to thrive.

As part of the Compassion programme, Tizita started learning a vocational skill aged 12. “When the chance to sew came at our project, I asked the project director to enrol me to the class,” says Tizita. “I took the training for three years and I used to attend the evening class.”

Alongside vocational skills teaching, she also received the opportunity to go to school thanks to the uniforms and supplies provided by her sponsorship.

When Tizita graduated from the Compassion programme and school, sewing became her lifeline.

“The skills training I attended when I was a child came to use,” she describes.

Initially she relied on help from the Compassion project to gain confidence. “The project arranged for me to train the registered children in embroidery, and they paid me 270 birr per month for doing that. That gesture from the project lifted me up. I started saving 100 birr every month.”

Yet Tizita wanted to do more with her skills. She went to the city administration to apply for a grant available to women who want to get involved in small-scale businesses. Her old Compassion project director helped her secure a license and a store.
“The fact that the project director reinforced my case with the city administration really helped me acquire my business permit and a shop. I got the work permit within a short time. After that, the project also allowed me to use its stitching machine until I could buy my own. That was a big push for me.”

Soon Tizita was able to buy her own sewing machine and she began producing quality curtains and bed covers. “I worked day and night and sacrificed a lot of things to be successful. The trainings I took at the Compassion centre and the fact that I taught students the same skill helped me really perfect my own skills. My hard work paid off and I was able to attract many clients within a short period of time. I reached the point where I couldn’t keep up with the work alone. Therefore, I trained three others and hired them to help me,” she explains.

Tizita in her sewing shop

Tizita's shop specialises in curtains and bed linen.

Tizita owns 3 sewing machines

Tizita with one of her employees

Tizita is also teaching other local women to sew professionally.

“The Compassion programme really helped me become a person with godly values, a person who interacts well with others and person who believes in hard work. The support of the project in my life has been immense. I can’t separate my success from the support I got in Compassion.”

WORDS : Becca Stanley

PHOTOS : Compassion UK

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