Meklina Stefano received a lot of support during her training
Meklina Stefano is a graduate of the sewing school in KIUMA. She originally comes from Songea, a town, which is about 200 kilometres west of the project. One needs five hours by car to drive the distance – that is how poor the roads in this part of the country are. Nevertheless, Meklina did her training from 2002 to 2003 in KIUMA, because she had heard from relatives and friends, how good the training was.
Today, she is living in Tunduru, the capital of the identically named district, about 70 Kilometres or two hours’ drive towards east, coming from KIUMA. These are large distances for the woman who was born in 1984. She hardly expected to see so much of her country when she was still a pupil. When they were still living at home, she and her eight siblings went sometimes hungry. Her father did not earn enough to support the family, even though he was working at the municipal waterworks of Songea at the time.
Easier than living at home
She says that KIUMA had played an important role in her life. Admittedly, her school education had not been adequate to train as a nurse, something she would have liked to do. But life at school was easier than being at home, not least because there was always enough food. She especially remembers that teachers praised her and her fellow pupils, that they treated her with kindness and looked well after her. This was an experience she had not made at the school she attended prior to coming to KIUMA.
Today, Meklina has become what one would call a “made woman” in Europe: she has her own tailor shop by the market of Tunduru, trains four apprentices and hardly anybody complains about her work. Due to the good training she was able to enjoy at KIUMA, her dresses have a professional finish and last longer than those of unskilled tailors, she said. Who can afford it goes to Meklina when a new garment is needed. She hopes to make further progress so that one day she can realize her wish to have a proper atelier with even more sewing machines and a number of extra employees.