From Escaping to Creating

From Escaping to Creating

I thank Together for Development for the work they have been doing. We have had their constant support.

I thank Together for Development for the work they have been doing. We have had their constant support.

Something in Celeste* finally cracked. She knew it was time to escape. For too long, she had endured physical and emotional abuse from her husband, and she knew she had to get out for the good of her three children. She fled without much idea of how she would survive. Her husband had been the breadwinner since they married, and getting back into the workforce was tough.

She found herself selling sweets on the roadside, but it made not even enough money for them all to eat. She spent the next two years trying to pick up whatever work she could. It was extremely tough for the four of them, but she was desperate to avoid returning home to further abuse. It was then she came across GLO Partner Together for Development (TFD).

As TFD has grown, it has moved its activities beyond the cities and into rural areas, setting up training centres to give people a chance to earn an income. Celeste connected with them in a rural area, along with twenty-one other at-risk women living in poverty who enrolled in the first cohort.

They spent two months training, learning how to cut fabric, sew accurately and put garments together. Their final project was creating a dress for themselves, seen in the photograph below! After finishing the training, TFD supported the cohort in opening a sewing shop. Since opening, Celeste has worked hard to learn advanced techniques, allowing her to produce higher-priced items. The ladies divide the profits equally between the group.

The latest graduates of the sewing school.

This income allows Celeste to rent a house and buy adequate food for her and her children. By any standard, they are still extremely poor, but their circumstances have vastly improved thanks to the training and startup funding from TFD.

As an abuse survivor who has overcome great difficulty, Celeste is extremely resilient. Her children remarked how thrilled they were to see how far she has come – they are so proud of her, and she is also a respected figure in the community thanks to the success of the sewing business.

The training classes continue, and Celeste attended the graduation of the fourth cohort to complete the training.

She explains: “I’m happy for the team that has just graduated. I thank TFD for the work they have been doing. We have had their constant support. I want to encourage these graduates that they also will be supported as long as they are willing to work.”

She plans to open her own sewing shop. She’s currently saving up enough capital to open it.

Despite the economic crisis in Burundi, Celeste and her team hope to expand their small shop. Their strength and resilience have inspired many in their community and beyond.

The work of Together for Development is making a huge impact on individuals and communities, bringing hope where there was despair, confidence where there was disappointment, and joy where there was shame. They are on the front line of cities, towns and villages, defending the widow, the orphan and the vulnerable.

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