Before starting training with Lilongwe Youth Organisation, neither Martin or Elizabeth had any tailoring experience – Elizabeth wasn’t working, and Martin was a labourer in a factory, as well as doing occasional agricultural work. They both heard about the training through their village chief and signed up because they wanted to learn a trade and improve their financial situation.
They enjoyed learning the practical skills, and particularly valued the business skills component of the programme – learning how to calculate profit and loss, keeping financial records, and how to look after customers, were all critical to planning and setting up their own business.
They set up their own shop three months after the end of the training, after spending time looking for suitable premises. Business is good, and they can now afford to rent an overlocker from another shop, and have bought two additional sewing machines to keep up with demand. Both Martin and Elizabeth said earning more money has changed their lives – they can buy good food, and send their children to school. Martin said he feels “free and happy.”
I feel that I am in control of my life.