Our vocational sewing program aims to empower Level One, Two and Three Poor people in our surrounding villages to earn a new skill, and as a result, create a sustainable future for themselves and their families.
The students study for 10 months, with their education consisting of two semesters. They learn everything from basic sewing skills through to an elaborate sewing top. They receive rice and vegetables as a stipend for studying, and are responsible for their own garden on HHA’s land. They learn about chemical-free farming from our Education and Community Manager so they can use that knowledge at their homes, too.
Every Friday the students study life skills and learn about topics such as anger management, hygiene, job interviews, domestic violence and other social issues. We also hold daily Khmer class for our illiterate sewing students. They can learn their native language, so they can increase their businesses opportunities.
After completing the sewing program our students are either hired by HHA to make our products at their homes, receive employment externally or set up a small business with machines borrowed through our microfinance program, which has a 100% repayment rate. We are trialling an alumni program, where we provide monthly workshops and lesson reviews to graduated students.
All students are required to abide by HHA’s strict rules, and are required to pay back half of the cost of their education if they decide to leave the program. This has enabled us to have a 100% retention rate.
When Saney was in her early 20s, she dreamed of being a seamstress. However, for someone living in poverty and only having enough food to eat twice a day, this dream was out of reach for her. When she was 28 years old, Saney’s neighbour told her about a new sewing program at an NGO she had just graduated from. Eager to study, Saney asked her husband for permission. He said no. She asked again. He said no. She continued to persist until her husband eventually agreed for her to study in the sewing program at Human and Hope Association.
After studying for just six weeks in the program, Saney asked to borrow a machine so she could start her own business. She was already earning $1.50USD a day as a beginner student. Given her excellent quality and productivity, we hired Saney to be a seamstress and to help launch our sewing business. We enrolled her daughter in English classes at HHA, and given she also struggled with learning her native language at public school, we started teaching her Khmer language, too.
Saney graduated from our sewing program in October 2014. She now has a successful business at her home, and her income has increased significantly. In the near future she will have moved out of it all together.
“My husband respects me now and often comments that I can earn much more money than him. My future is much brighter because of HHA.”
It costs $90 a month to provide sewing training to a woman. Become a Sewing Champion today!