Claiming God’s Plan for a Future and a Hope (Jeremiah 29:11)
Threads of Hope is a vocational training center for vulnerable women living in extreme poverty in the greater Bomet area. It was founded under the direction of Tenwek Community Health and Development in February 2018. Suzie Vaughan, who travels to Tenwek for service each year with her husband, Read Vaughan, M.D., was instrumental in creating and developing the program.
During an eight-month tailoring apprenticeship, women gain vocational training and life skills, develop business acumen, and receive spiritual mentorship. Their work produces school uniforms for orphans, sanitary pads for use in prisons and schools, purses, aprons and other items for sale to visitors. “As our women find a sense of community, acceptance, and encouragement, we pray that their sense of dignity, self-worth and hope is restored,” says Suzie, who is pictured at left with the second class of sewing apprentices.
At graduation, women have achieved competency and their sewing has “earned” the value of one-third the price of a treadle sewing machine ($50 of the $150 USD total cost). FOT provided the funds to purchase and award each graduate of the first class a new machine, enabling her to return to her village and begin a new business.
The first five graduates have been on their own for seven months. All are using their sewing skills and machines to support themselves and their families. One woman has opened a small shop, another works at a tea factory making bags to carry tea leaves, and three others sew uniforms and do mending for their villages. Every member of that first class recently returned to Tenwek to celebrate the graduation of the second class of six apprentices. Training for a third group of women is underway.
The impact of this effort reaches far beyond the women themselves – the 11 students and two teachers involved so far are mothers of 32 children! Upon seeing Suzie this year, one of the first graduates gave her a warm embrace and said, “Thank you for changing my life. Not a day goes by that I cannot find a way to make some money using my machine.”