Anna’s Story

Anna is now 21.  As a young child Anna’s mother left the family so she lived with her father and her new stepmother. Sadly, the new family was living in extreme poverty.  Her father would occasionally get work as a local security guard earning perhaps $30 per month but this was infrequent. The family of five was only just surviving on less than $1 per day. Added to the economic pressures, Anna suffered significant emotional and psychological abuse from her stepmother.

On finishing secondary school at 18 there was clearly no prospect of further education or training opportunities. Meanwhile working opportunities for girls without skills and experience simply do not exist.  Anna’s prospects at this point were bleak. For many girls in this situation it’s likely that they will be ushered out of the family home to fend for themselves. With no opportunities or work skills, many girls are forced by circumstance, into early marriage or sexual relationships with men where they have few decision-making privileges and even fewer opportunities than they had at home. Inevitably rates of HIV, teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality are terribly high.

Anna heard about WEEDO from a neighbour and came to ask if she could join. She joined the programme aged 19 a few months later.  Anna particularly took to the sewing and tailoring programme with a real flair for fashion and design.  WEEDO is the chosen charity partner of Swahili Fashion Week which provides the girls with an opportunity to create and produce designs which are modelled by the girls themselves but also professional models on a national stage.  Anna was enthusiastic about this work and participated in the 2021 event prior to her graduation.

As a direct result of the skills learned at WEEDO, Anna now has a full-time job at Matrix, a Dar company that specialises in production of various bags.  In consequence, Anna has now been able to move out of home and rent her own place in the city close to her place of work.  She has kept a close relationship with WEEDO and is working as an informal ambassador, speaking to other girls in the community about the organisation and recommending them to apply for a place. She is helping with preparation for the 2022 Swahili Fashion week. Anna is a hard-working and inceasingly confident young woman. Beyond her vocational training and success she is benefiting from the improved English and Financial skills she learned at WEEDO, which together with the health and life skills coaching, means she is well placed to look after herself and make informed decisions for her future. She is a WEEDO success story, with her own hard work she is providing a great return on the investment made in her.

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