22-year old Alberto has always had a passion for tailoring - he even saved up enough money to buy his own sewing machine. The problem was, he didn’t know how to use it properly.
That changed when he joined Plan International Mozambique’s Youth Empowerment, Technical Training and Employability project funded by the European Commission.
After enrolling on the tailoring course, Alberto developed his skills and graduated easily.
FROM COURSE TO COOPERATIVE
Soon, he decided to pursue his dream and start a tailoring cooperative together with six other graduates from his course. He is now happily self-employed through this cooperative, and experiences the joys of being his own boss.
“The fact that I’m now self-employed has made me independent, I don’t need financial support from my parents anymore,” he beams. “I now earn enough money for my personal expenses.”
Alberto feels proud to be able to help not only his family with everyday expenses, but also his community with cheap clothes made in his tailoring cooperative.
“I now can contribute money for food purchases and I help with the purchase of school material for my brothers, which has meant a lot for my family,” he says. “Our community supports our cooperative as they see young and responsible young people and that we can play an important role in the development of the community,” he adds.
Alberto knows that people usually see tailoring as a woman’s activity, but that did not stop him from achieving his goal. “Before, I thought that tailoring was more for women because it is a delicate activity that requires a lot of patience. But after the course I now know that it is dependent on skills and not on gender.”
Today, thinking of everything he has accomplished, Alberto looks back and wishes all unemployed youth could have the same opportunity as he did.
“Before the course my life was full of suffering,” he recalls. “I had to travel a lot between my home and the nearest city, which is an eight hour drive, in order to look for a job, and I would never be successful.”
The course has had other benefits for Alberto, too, boosting his confidence and self-esteem. “I now have more confidence in myself with my new skills and the fact that I can contribute positively to my family and community’s well-being”, he said proudly.
When he talks about the future of his cooperative, Alberto has big ambitions in mind. “We want to improve our services and increase our clientele by 10 times by next year,” he declares.
My skills will develop throughout life and I wish to become an expert
And as far as he is concerned, tailoring will always play a big role in his life. “I view tailoring as a real art that requires skills,” he says. “My skills will develop throughout life and I wish to become an expert. My ambition is to be a well-known tailor and a reference when it comes to sewing women’s clothes and children’s school uniforms.”
For more information about Plan International's work in Mozambique go to plan-international.org/mozambique
For more information about the work of the European Commission's International Cooperation and Development Directorate General, please click here.