Eye-catching designs and inspiring stories: Meet our latest Evangeline Life Skills graduates
Last Saturday we had the pleasure of celebrating the Evangeline Life Skills Graduation ceremony held at Living Hope. Twenty women received their certificates for completing a 6-month course in sewing, basic computer and English literacy. The graduates modelled the dresses they had made for themselves during their training. This is a life-changing course for them, as it brings personal growth and development in their skills as they go through the different stages within the course. At the end of the course, they receive a bible, a certificate and a sewing machine they wouldn’t otherwise afford.
Dr. Wendy Ryan opened the ceremony welcoming the guests and congratulating the graduates on their achievements. Guest speaker Steve Zimri of Rainbow ECD briefly spoke to the audience of the importance of early childhood education and that by providing stability and a good educational foundation when children are young, they will go on to become successful adults with a bright future. Several of Rainbow ECD’s teachers who had been students in the Evangeline Life Skills course were amongst those who graduated on the day.
We were also joined by Lizelle Coombs from Angels Training & Resource Centre, who shared with the audience how these graduates can now apply for assistance with running their own business. The centre can guide these women on building sustainable businesses that will help them to support their families.
The most inspiring part of the graduation ceremony, however, was being able to hear from the graduates themselves on how the experience has changed their lives, and how grateful they each were for the opportunity to take part in the course.
One of the graduates we heard from was Susan, who told us about her new business “Tshuma design” which she recently opened with her daughter Edith, who is also an Evangeline graduate. Susan works in a guest house as a domestic worker and she sells the bags they design to the guests who come from the United States and Europe. With the computer skills she learned in the course, Edith now keeps the books for their newly formed business. Susan is grateful to have done the course because it helps her pay the rent and fulfill her creative passion as well.
Another graduate, Barbara, shared how she was initially very hesitant and uncertain whether they would accept ‘’foreigners’’ onto the sewing course. She quickly came to realize that Wendy and her team accept community members from all walks of life and nationality. She also felt insecure about being older than many of the other women on the course, especially when it came to learning computers. She was scared about whether she would be able to learn so much at her age. She had never sewed before and admitted her self-esteem was extremely low. She proudly shared how she is now able to help her children with their schoolwork, something she never used to be able to do. The biggest change has been in her self-esteem and confidence – ‘’you are never too old to learn something new and improve your circumstances!!’’
We would like to thank everyone who has supported the Evangeline Life Skills course over the years. Your support helps us to continue doing the work we do in providing access to education and training in Masiphumelele. The programme, founded by Dr. Wendy Ryan, is funded by Evangeline Ministries and Masicorp and is a wonderful partnership and collaboration which allows us to change the lives of 48 unemployed women each year.
To find out more about the programme and how to get involved, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org