DREAMS programme teaches girls to sew, then help them become entrepreneurs
A bevy of young entrepreneurs has started a sewing business with support of the DREAMS project funded by the US Government. As part of their first contract, the seamstresses this week delivered 300 masks to Project Hope for use in Safe Spaces, designated spots at schools or in the townships where girls and young women participate in the DREAMS programme to discuss mutual affairs.
US Ambassador to Namibia, HE Lisa Johnson congratulated the young women at a small handover ceremony at the Project Hope Namibia offices in Katatura, saying, “The DREAMS programme takes a holistic approach because our emotional, physical, and financial health are all related. This has become increasingly clear with COVID-19. I am happy to see that you are becoming successful businesswomen in mask tailoring.”
Having been trained in the DREAMS programme, the seven budding entrepreneurs received ten sewing machines and tailoring accessories, as well as fabric provided by the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade. Each seamstress produces several face masks per day, and each mask is sold for N$20 to N$25. The young women are currently operating from a temporary space in the community while they develop marketing material to expand sales to new clients.
The DREAMS programme is funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Project HOPE Namibia and other organisations are implementing partners for the DREAMS programme. It currently operates in the Khomas, Oshikoto, and Zambezi regions with almost 12,000 active participants and soon will expand to Oshana and Kavango East.
Standing at the back, from the left, USAID Country Representative, Dr. Randy Kolstad, Industrial Engineer at the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, Frans Nekuma, Chief of Party DREAMS Bernadette Harases, and, US Ambassador HE Lisa Johnson. (Wo)manning the sewing machine is Ester Naidila, showing how adept she is at making face masks.