Sole Traders!

Sole Traders!

‘Transforming Burundi, bottom-up and top-down’. That’s GLO’s vision. Sadly, people with disabilities in Burundi are often pushed to the bottom of society, missing out on education and opportunities. They are left unable to work traditional jobs, and rely on their families and friends to provide for them.

But that is not God’s plan for them! With a little support, these precious individuals have much to give! So the team at Together for Development Birashoboka (which means it is possible) has set up a cooperative that makes shoes as an opportunity for them to earn an income and the dignity it brings.

Initially, the shoes and sandals they made were rough and poor quality, so they made very little net profit when sold. But the team persevered, refining their craft. Ephraim, leader of Together for Development, could see the hard work they were putting in and gave the cooperative the gift of a sanding machine. With this advanced tool, they can get much smoother edges which means the quality of the shoes has significantly improved – and they can be sold for a lot more.

Many of these people have never had a job before and are delighted to find dignity in working hard and earning a living for themselves. Clement (pictured) is the vice president of the cooperative. He is trained in shoe making and sewing and helps arrange the logistics and operations of buying the materials, making the shoes, and selling them for profit. He has recently expanded his skillset by taking sewing classes, pictured here after his graduation, “I am so happy to make this shirt before graduation. It shows how I am able to help the community”.

In a nation where many sadly miss out on education, skills training is a beautiful way to bring long-term, sustainable change to people’s lives. Once they are employable, or able to start their own family business, they are empowered to earn and work for prosperity fo themselves, and the wider community! Together for Development do this with some of the most marginalised communities around Burundi – a beautiful example of ‘bottom-up’ transformation.

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