Sandra Akeza is a young woman who was given the opportunity to learn to sew and create a better life for herself and her family through Zakat Foundation of America’s (ZF) vocational school in Kenya, the Heshima Kenya Young Women’s Empowerment Program. Like the other program participants, Sandra came from a very poor family. Yet unlike the other women, Sandra has an eight-month-old baby boy that she cares for on her own. By diligently coming to the school early each morning to work with her instructor one-on-one, she transformed herself into one of the most skilled and eager students in the program. Sandra has quickly grasped the skills needed for sewing and she aspires to be one of the best students in the class.
ZF’s Heshima Kenya Young Women’s Empowerment Program uses a basic tailoring curriculum to equip young women with knowledge and skills necessary to become economically self-sufficient. The program is designed to support the learning and development of 30 women, as well as provide lunch and cover transportation costs for participants. The program training runs seven months; new students are brought into the program every three months. The program curriculum was designed and is executed by a professional Kenyan instructor. ZF runs similar programs in developing countries around the world.
On December 8, 2012 Heshima Program held its first annual scarf sale at the compound. Scarves were sold and students were actively involved in the sales, sharpening their customer care and stock taking skills. Students have also been sewing scarves ordered for a fundraising event that will be held in Chicago. They also produced screen printed pillowcases and clutch purses for these events.
There are currently 28 young women in the Heshima Program who will graduate in June. Everyone in the program agrees that if it wasn’t for ZF, these young women would have a very different life ahead of them. If you want to help a young woman like Sandra change her future for the better, please donate to ZF’s Education and Skill Training Programs today.