Growing up with a love of fashion and fabrics, Bienvenie always dreamed of learning to sew. Her dream didn’t seem possible, though. Raised in Mumosho by a single mother who had to support all her children after their father died in a mining accident when Bienvenie was only two years old, she admits, “It is a hard life.” We sit outside the simple biulding that houses the Mumosho Sewing Workshop, on small stools, surrounded by lush green trees, red earth, and a family’s round, thatched home to our side. Bienvenie looks directly at the camera, her perfect posture never changing, portraying her pride.
She is proud of her mother, who cares for her and her siblings with the food she harvests from their farm. She is proud of her new sewing skills, and her dreams to have her own business. Denied a basic education, she dreamed of learning to sew, but her mother could not afford to send her to the sewing school.
“I’ve been dreaming for a long time, how I could learn to sew,” Bienvenie tells us in Mashi, her first language. “Because I didn’t get a chance to go to school, I asked my mother to send me, to pay tuition for me to learn to sew. But my mom is too poor, she could not afford it. But the people who started this program, I don’t know what I could give them. People who are supporting this program, I don’t know what to tell them, because for me, it has been a dream to have a place where I can learn sewing, and here I am. I am very happy.”
What will she do with her new sewing skills? “I like mixing different fashions, blouses, skirts, different fabrics,” she says. “People will look for me, I will make their clothes, and I will make money.”
Bienvenie’s dream came true. Because of the people in the United States and around the world who support Action Kivu’s work in Mumosho, Bienvenie graduated with a sewing machine in the summer of 2012, and is now one of the women who will make the school uniforms for the children Action Kivu sends to school with education assistance.
“To the people who support the program and purchase the sewing machines: I am weeping inside my heart, I am grateful.” — Bienvenie
|Photo by Cate Haight, Mumosho, January 2012|