“I dropped out of school because I couldn’t pay the tuition fees at the age of 18”, remembers Ruth “I then started picking coffee as farmworker to earn some money.” Ruth is now 25 years old and lives in Mityana, Uganda. Her aim has been to take a tailoring course in the capital Kampala. In the countryside she needed to help the family to sustain a living by babysitting her sisters’ children and working with her mother in on the farm. “But my entire mind was on how to get out of the village to Kampala. I was ready to go for anything, provided it is in the city”, she remembers. She got in touch with the HRNS youth development project and Farmer Field School activities in 2013. Through the project she got access to a vocational training for tailoring and design skills. “During school holiday, I used the Good Agronomic Practices learnt from FFS and set up beans and Maize gardens that I left under the care of my mother during the school term”, Ruth recalls this time of education.
“Today I am a renowned tailor in my community. I sustain myself and I am happy in the village. Using proceeds from beans and maize production, I have established 1 acre of coffee intercropped with bananas.”
Ruth found a job with a local tailor. Finally she could buy a sewing machine and rented a small room to start her own business. “Today I am a renowned tailor in my community. I sustain myself and I am happy in the village. Using proceeds from beans and maize production, I have established 1 acre of coffee intercropped with bananas.” And Ruth implements her own business ideas: She is buying second hand clothes, modifies and sells them at a higher price.
Ruth is also happy about giving back to the community: “I also teach youth who want to learn how to create a tailoring business or how to use a sewing machine but I have not started charging any fee”, she laughs.
And the community is giving back to her as well. When Ruth is going to her work on the farm or in her tailor-shop she can see the kids in the school uniforms, she made.