The sewing workshop was created on 6 March 2012. Originally all chairs, tables and sewing machines were still being carried outside so that the language lessons could continue indoors. At the end of 2014, the study program received its own classroom. The course lasts for three years. The advantage that the teacher is registered in the syndicate ensures that the students can appear before an examination committee after three years and obtain a certificate.
When a student succeeds, a sewing machine and some material are donated. The clothing is sold and the income is used in turn to purchase new fabrics, new yarn and more.
The village chief has also assigned these women a piece of land so that they can grow vegetables and crops in their spare time, which they keep for the dry seasons. Embracing Life provides grain and seed. Since the new teacher Sélassé is employed (April 2017), the applications are flowing in. We were forced to expand the room.
The sewing training gets a lot of attention outside of Apégamé. Especially young women who lost their parents. We were also contacted to include some orphans in the training, but then we have to think of the necessary accommodation for these youngsters.
Currently we have 15 young mothers who follow the sewing lessons. One will graduate in 2017. Six of them at the end of 2018. Eight registered in 2017.
What else is needed?
The walls still need to be painted
2 additional fans
Action plan: sewing clothes for children and selling them on the market
In 2013 the first steps were taken to start the weaving workshop. We started with the open construction of +/- 54 m². Thanks to the proceeds of benefit 'Home Cookin'Band' in 2013 and an anonymous gift, structural work was finished and weaving material was purchased. This craft has been completely vanished and people go to neighboring Ghana to buy fabrics. The intention is not only to reinstall this tradition but also to make a living by selling the woven fabrics.
January 2018 : Good news! Mawusé has received a large order, which means he has to employ two extra weavers.
Dovéné is the first weaver who graduated in 2016. He remains on the domain to process the orders. New candidates apply in 2017 to follow the training. They are first tested to see if they have a logical insight to handle this training.
Meanwhile, young people from the area are motivated to follow the training. If necessary, we take care of accommodation, while we ask the family to take care of the livelihood during the training. In order to stimulate sales, publicity will be made in the neighborhood, in NGOs, banks and others.
In Flanders we also hope to take sales of the weaving material to a higher level. In England there are two Design Houses, one in Winchester and one in Southsea. To support the project, they make high-quality pillows with our weaving material .
They sell these in their stores and part of it we hope to sell in Flanders during markets and activities. This weaving material can also be used as a table runner or wall decoration.
Mme Brigitte from ASFEEN has ordered weaving materials and showed us how women can wear this during festivities.
The young people who have already followed a short training were called to:
At the start of 2018, a short training will be provided for the last part of the fence and possibly the raising of some rooms for candidates from distant villages.
Location: at KATI
We originally planned this for 2019 but has already being partly realized. 5 Hectares of fertile soil were purchased. The site is now a complete jungle but containg a value we don't yet know about.
Total cost = 4 250 euros.
The choices we had:
Do we pay people preparing the soil per square meter. This means that these people will enrich themselves with whatever they find on the ground?
Or do we employ a farmer who has the knowledge to grow vegetables in an ecological way and to breed small livestock, and trains young people.
Which would mean, square meter per square meter they would study what they find, what is advisable to keep, what can be processed and sold, etc. This might be a good way to prepare the terrain.
The latter was chosen. We have visited the NGO Sichem. This organisation gives a training of 9 months. We already found a candidate who wants to follow this training.
He has already been studying agriculture at the university for one year, but he was unable to continue his studies for financial reasons.
This training costs 1000 €.
When his training is finished we can always count on him if questions or problems occur.
The aim which proceeds from this project is that it would be sufficient to cover all the costs of the training center and the literacy lessons in the different villages, so that Embracing Life Togo can work fully autonomously within a few years!
Location: Agou - Apégamé
Photocopies, scanner, school and office supplies
Sewing and weaving articles from our workshops
Sale of soft drinks
Augustin following a training in Sichem as an ecological farmer, has been there for three months. In addition to growing vegetables, he has learned how to take care of chickens, ducks and fish, including the breeding. Later on pigs and goats will follow.
Augustin visited a fish farm several times taking practical lessons. The theory included how to work out business plans.
After finishing this training (mid September) he will be deployed at the agricultural school on our premises in Kati.
In 2012 she started training as a seamstress. In 2016 she received her diploma. After a six-month internship with an haute couture tailor, which she passed with flying colours, she now became the teacher in our center. Seventeen young women and mothers study under her leadership. She is an example and inspiration for the pupils because she went through this course as a single young mother. She herself is enormously grateful and an honest woman.
We wish her every success.