Nayiga Esther, a single mother aged twenty-three, lives with five members of her family, including her son, Ssebale Joel; widowed mother, Nanyingi Rosemary, aged forty-five; sister, Nalubega Annet, who takes a hair dressing course with support from Change A Life Uganda; a niece; and a nephew. Esther grew up in a poor family in Migyera in the Nakasongola District.
Esther joined the Change A Life Uganda Tailoring Project and discusses her experience: “CALU was very friendly in welcoming me. Although I did not know the basic mathematics required for cutting and the tailoring course, I was allowed to register in the tailoring project and the trainer taught me patiently how to take measurements.”
In February of 2014, Esther graduated in Tailoring, Fashions, and Designs.
Despite her challenging upbringing, Esther now says that she has “a hope of becoming an important citizen in the next few years and being able to improve her standards of living” because of the Change A Life Uganda Tailoring Project.
Esther discusses the impact of the Tailoring Project: “Before becoming involved with CALU’s tailoring class, my family’s living conditions were difficult . My child would drink porridge only once a day and suffered from malnutrition. The neighbors refused their children to play with my child due to his appearance. But the income and benefits received from tailoring changed my life situation.With the little I earn, I am able to buy necessary medicines, and my child is now healthy and is going to school. I can afford to sew his clothes and uniforms.We are now living happy because the future looks bright for my family since my small business will help me to increase the family income and ease any difficulties.”
Esther earns about $9 per month and is able to double her monthly income during festive seasons. Most of her business comes from CALU beneficiaries, who recommend her work to others, as well as a few customers from outside Migyera, who come to her station to place orders. She shares her earnings with her family.
Esther says that she feels blessed to be a part of Change A Life Uganda and hopes to take other design courses in the future. She has been able to buy supplies including metal sheets for a roof and truckloads of sand to make bricks in order to construct a new home for her family. She is a well-regarded tailor in her village and believes that she can end the cycle of poverty in her family family.
Esther making uniforms for school children
With a tape measure around her neck, Esther says: “My son and relatives are proud to see me working. I sew clothes for my relatives at times of my convenience so as to balance between work and family. So the gift of a tailoring machine makes me feel grateful; I can now pass on the same knowledge to my sister and relatives.”
Esther’s income and skills allow her to be independent and self-reliant. She has improved her family’s economic situation and is also able to teach her skills to other women in her community.
Esther thanks Change A Life Uganda for the Tailoring Project: “I thank the CALU team for showing me the light. If it were not CALU, I would be sitting home, not earning, and not being able to support my family. Today, I work and earn! CALU has given me the skills and opportunity. Thank you, CALU!”