A group of 26 underprivileged women in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, have been empowered with tailoring skills for self-employment.
All the women, between the ages of 20 and 64, who are mainly from the Sugar Cane Farm Community in the city, have never had any prior tailoring skills before they began the training which lasted for six months.
Before presenting certificates of achievement to the women, Mrs. Saya Doe-Sio, Chair and Founder of the Annie T. Doe Memorial Foundation (ATDMF), said all that she, her family and sponsors are doing is to show the love of Christ to everyone, irrespective of status.
“Jesus reminds us that what we do for the least of our brethren, we do unto Him.” We have inner fulfillment knowing that the lives of these women will no longer be the same. The Board of the ATDMF and all its international sponsors take pride knowing that our efforts are helping to improve women’s capacity in Liberia for the better,” Mrs. Doe-Sio said last Friday during the certification program.
She told her audience, most of who are familiar with her very humble beginnings in the same Sugar Cane Farm Community, that like many Liberians with similar backgrounds, she knows what it means to live without ones basic needs being met.
Based on their newly acquired skills, the women and other women have the potential to do as well as their male counterparts, but need equal opportunity to do so. She urged the public to do business with the women, who had some of their handiworks on display.
“You see the very beautiful dresses of various designs made by each of them. They are prepared to sew your school and other uniforms,” she asserted.
The ATDMF chair and her family, who are based in the United States, disclosed that the first cycle of training had cost the foundation US$30,000, including machines, teachers’ salaries and supplies (fabric, threads, etc).
As she handed certificates to the women, she stated that her Foundation will give a startup kit, including sewing machine, to each of them.
“We are seeking contracts for uniforms for these women. You may please contact Mr. Eric Peters 0775590886 or 0886510624,” Mrs. Doe-Sio pleaded.
Before she presented the women and showcased some of their handiworks to the audience, Ms. Geneva Garr, the sewing program instructor, told the audience that the last six months with the women had been “very rewarding.”
“Some days when we came to class, we had to put teaching aside and share stories of the struggles going on in our individual homes. We even had to make peace between people who were not on speaking terms in the class,” she narrated as most in the audience nodded their heads in approval.
Ms. Garr stated that she started the class with 30 women, but along the way one died and three dropped out, while the 26 “stood the test of time and completed.”
She pledged US$200 towards the continuation of the sewing program.
A representative from the Buchanan City Mayor’s office said they are impressed with what the Foundation is doing for the women and children of the city.
Francis Sio, husband of Saya, spoke of God’s goodness to his family, which led them to come back to share “His goodness” with fellow Liberians. The crowd later joined Mr. Sio and sang a familiar praise song.
During a mini-fundraising section of the program, a senior official of Liberty Party, Israel Akinsanya, pledged L$100,000 to both the vocation and regular academic programs on behalf of his political party.
Henry Dunbar, Jr., a friend of the Sios and sponsor of the Foundation who also came to Liberia from the US for the program, pledged US$500. He said that based on what he had seen of the Foundation’s work, when he gets back to the United States, he will encourage his fellow sponsors and others to do more for the Foundation.