At a time when hunger has hit many parts of the country, twenty-two year-old Elizabeth Kamoto in Phalombe is using tailoring to feed her family of six.
Kamoto who stays with her divorced mother and her four siblings, is among 60 girls and young women who were trained in tailoring and design course by Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) in Phalombe district in the year of 2019.
She says her family has not experienced hunger like other families in her village of Khongoloni and other villages throughout the country.
Kamoto who is a holder of Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) says because of the skills which she got from the training she is now able to make not less than Mk1500 (about US$2) per day which has helped in improving the livelihood of her family.
“For some days after I opened this workshop, it wasn’t working but now let me tell you that I can make Mk1500 a day by sewing old clothes and when I get a piece of cloth to design either a trouser or shirt I make more than that.
“I can tell you that during this hunger period, our family has been able to take three meals daily without missing any on a certain day because of this job,” said.
Kamoto, who is a member of Tionere Limodzi youth club member added that she has been supporting the education of her sisters and brother by buying them writing materials such as exercise books, ball pens, which had been a challenge for her mother.
Kamoto’s mother, Rosina Daniel, told Malawi24 she was amazed at what her daughter has been doing to her family since she returned from the tailoring training.
According to the mother, her daughter has made her proud in the village.
“Eliza is helping me a lot and I can tell you that I have not ate madeya (maize grain) even on the single day. Let me say here that I have seen my fellow women who are married sleeping throughout the night without eating anything but as for me there isn’t a single day, I thank God that she learnt tailoring,” said the mother.
Kamoto’s plans now are that she should buy her own sewing machine since the one she is using was given to her and other two girls as a group though she is using it alone because her friends stopped going to the workshop about five months ago.
District Youth Development officer, Ian Sukali, expressed satisfaction with what Kamoto and other few AGYW who learnt the skills are doing with their tailoring businesses.
“These are stories which we mostly like to hear, this paints a good picture to partners who support us in the youth that they did not invest their resources in vain, I am proud of girls such as Elizabeth and others who graduated after finishing that training,” he said.
However, Sukali warned girls who have just kept their sewing machines which they received after the training that his office will inspect to check if the machines are being used.
“We have reports that some girls abandoned these machine, soon my office will have an inspection and if we find that indeed some aren’t using these sewing then we won’t hesitate but to seize them.
“We have a lot of girls and young women in this district who are lacking these machines but they have skills in tailoring and design, we will give them the machines to make use of them,” said Sukali.