STITCHING HER WAY TO STABILITY.
2016 is a year Shakira Nakyeyune recounts with utmost pain, she was only 14 years old had dropped out of school because her single mother could hardly pay her school fees let alone provide food, medication, clothing or a roof over her head. She vividly remembers the last day she stepped foot at school, the head teacher told her to never show her face at the school premises without the full school fees amount which was shs. 17,500. With teary blurry eyes she says that’s when it downed on her that she had to do whatever it takes and take every stride in an attempt to overcome all that life was throwing at her and try to make ends meet.
Having been born and raised in kyambogo village Nakasongola district, she embarked on trying to look for a job around but all in vain and as such she ended up in a relationship with a 17 year old motorcycle rider. She felt cared for and protected, unfortunately the bliss was short lived when she discovered she was pregnant. Her boyfriend outright disowned the pregnancy and threw her out of his grass thatched hut giving various ridiculous reasons as to why they couldn’t stay together anymore. That opened the door to a series of various agonizing incidences in her life. She was beyond devastated and hurt worse still she could not go back to her mother’s mud house due to the pregnancy. With no better option left to her, she went to her sister in law’s place. She was utterly mistreated! She was denied food, beaten, forced to do hard labor to the extent of almost losing her unborn child. She tried all she could to brave the situation and hardships up until she put to bed on 4th/12/16.
She gave birth to a baby boy by c-section at kakooge health center, she named her baby MIRACLE having survived all the tribulations and afflictions she had been faced with during her pregnancy. The birth of her baby motivated her to face life’s challenges head on as she was now well aware that she solely had the responsibility of taking care of her little child. She patched up the relationship with her mother and re united with her but this did not entirely make the situation better as her mother was still not in position to offer much
At 14years old with a 3months old baby confused and scared about what the future would be like, Shakira was introduced to SHADOWS OF A CHILD by our child care officers who got to know her through the village health team. Both the child mother and the child were suffering from mal nutrition complications, SOC offered them treatment by catering for their hospital bills as well as nutrious supplementary milk for baby Miracle. They were under close supervision and care from SOC up until Shakira made full recovery and the baby was healthy and out of danger. She was then enrolled into SOC vocational training for child mothers as a way of restoring hope and equipping the girls with skills that can enable them survive in a world filled with various uncertainties. Meeting with other girls that had been through almost similar situations as her helped her fit in and SOC offered her with a safe place she could find belonging, acceptance and love.
She embarked on her learning journey, and little by little stitching became her way of life, she embraced it and came to a realization that God had given her a second chance to study and make something of herself and her child. She learnt different stitches and designs, she can tailor shorts, dresses, skirts, and shirts using any type of fabric. After the assurance that she was well versed with everything to do with tailoring, SOC graduated her and the rest of her classmates in 2019. Shakira and her classmates were gifted each with an individual sewing machine as a way of empowering them to work and be in position to take care of themselves and their babies. 3 months after graduation, we visited Shakira at her mother’s home in kyambogo as part of our project evaluation and she was beyond grateful to SOC for equipping her with the skills that have enabled her secure a better life for herself, her baby and her entire household. she works from home and she is able to spend ample time with her child, none of her family members ever goes to bed on an empty stomach, she can now afford medical bills incase her child falls sick, she’s generally able to take care of herself and her entire household. Miracle is now 3 years old and through her tailoring earnings Shakira has been able to save up shs. 35,000 per month to pay for his school fees for the first two terms in baby class next year. She excitedly says none of this would have ne been possible if it weren’t for SOC teaching and equipping her with tailoring skills and later gifting her with start up capital inform of her own personal sewing machine. She proudly reveals to us that she is the only proud owner of a sewing machine on her entire village all thanks to SOC. The sewing machine and skills she attained at SOC have not only impacted and transformed her life, but the lives of very many other people in her community as she is reaching out to other women and teaching them how to tailor. She now has purpose and direction, she’s working towards getting a tailor shop with some of her former classmates, SOC shone bright and paved a way of sustainability and stability, Shakira is stitching her way to success.