TAILORING PROJECT for SURVIVAL
Young women in a war-torn region of South Sudan are learning to sew. With each stitch, comes greater confidence in their skills and excitement at the prospect of earning an income. They are also grateful for the Lost Boys Center for Leadership Development (LBCLD) who are guiding their paths out of poverty and despair.
Ten years ago, the LBCLD started building a center in Juba, South Sudan and it was opened officially on June 5, 2023. The goal is to help the people in South Sudan around Juba town. The two decade-long reign of terror which was the Sudanese civil war had devastated South Sudan. Thousands of South Sudanese were murdered or raped, and hundreds of children were abducted and enslaved in North Sudan. Thousands more were forced from their homes into internally displaced persons camps.
With the threat of war subsiding, the LBCLD would like to help people gain their lives back and establish themselves in town. Families moving back to what was left of their villages is not possible now, due to insecurity. At the LBCLD, they provided a safe space for working through trauma and compassionately walked with them in companionship.
Many young women had been born in camps and years later gave birth to their own children there. They pleaded for help in rising above the widespread violence and destruction that left them with no prospects. They had no opportunity for schooling in the camps and they lacked self-confidence. Still, they had hope that when given a chance, they could craft a decent life for themselves and their children. Out of this plea, the LBCLD fashioned the idea to teach the women a viable trade. Such skills would allow them to generate critically-needed income and find stable ground socially, spiritually and psychologically.
Ten young mothers, ages 20–35, became pioneers of the program, headed by LBCLD Compound Manager, Joseph Makuach Atem. The LBCLD set up a training center in Juba at Sherikate at the Lost Boys Center Leadership Development. They equipped the hall with ten sewing machines and supplies.
The trainees will be each given sewing machines and each a loan of $300 to start their own business. Trainees will be required to report back to LBCLD every month on her business progress. The first payment of $100 from the loan will be expected after one year, October 29, 2024. Trainees can share a one-room house within walking distance of the training center (LBCLD) or rent their own individual space. The LBCLD will facilitate quarterly meetings with trainees for nourishment to learn new skills. After four months, the women mastered the techniques needed to make clothing and embroider logos. In only a few months, the quality of the trainees’ products rose significantly. The need for growth is not just a desire, it is a pressing issue. The LBCLD leaders have a long waiting list of women who are eager to make a living, provide for their families, and discover the self-worth that comes from independence and achievement.
Their dreams reach even further, with the hopes of starting a catering school and providing other hands-on skills training. To this point, the LBCLD’s kind donors and grants have made the program possible. But the LBCLD leaders are striving to make it self-sustainable; they know it is a reachable vision.
The LBCLD leaders are excited to witness this growth, despite the challenges brought by the insecurity in South Sudan. They are especially pleased to see the freedom the program brings for women and their children. Where war once raged, hope is alive in Sherikate, Juba.