Sewing and Knitting Programme Expansion
HUG Charity Foundation (HCF) is an Australian based not for profit organization that focuses on establishing sustainable partnerships between two different cultures and has been working side by side with communities surrounding Lubanda Village, in south western Uganda since 2008. HCF currently have a very successful tailoring and knitting programme as part of the vocational studies at the Suubi Secondary School in Uganda. This programme began in 2015, when the school first opened, with 2 sewing machines shared by 12 tailoring students and 1 knitting machine shared by 9 knitting students during that first year.
Knitting and tailoring students have been taught to make skirts, trousers, shirts and sweaters as part of these vocational classes. Among other practical, hands on learning initiatives, this also enables the students to produce the school uniforms for the following intake of students at Suubi SS.
The programme is now so successful that there is now a problem that too many students are having to share a machine and therefore actual hands on practice has been significantly reduced. Learning has become more difficult and the whole process of producing school uniforms has also slowed down incredibly.
UCF received an application from HCF for a grant of $1,960 to purchase an additional 4 knitting and 4 sewing machines, bringing the total to 6 knitting machines and 11 sewing machines. This will give a ratio of approximately 5 students per machine which will have a considerable impact on the hands on learning time each student gets. This will improve students overall learning and time frames associated with producing school uniforms.
Ugandan partner and Suubi Centre director, Ssemwogerere David, who HCF have been working with for over 10 years now, will purchase the machines in Uganda. Local machines are far more suitable for the conditions and challenges faced over there; heavy-duty treadle sewing machines and knitting machines will ensure the students can continue their classes, even when the electricity fails (which is often the case in the village) and parts and repairs can easily be bought and carried out when needed.
The tailoring and knitting programme provides students with a wide variety of skills that they will have forever. These skills can be used to support and provide an income for the individual and their families in the future, even should they are unable to continue on to tertiary education.
In the 4 years since the programme commenced HCF have already seen 6 past students go on to start their own tailoring businesses – either in the village or Masaka, which is a major city approximately 30 kms away from the Lubanda village where the school is based. Two girls have also gained employment with an organisation that produces knitted sweaters for schools in the area.
With such a positive and bright outlook for the programme and students, UCF directors were pleased to award a grant of $2,000 for the purchase of additional knitting and sewing machines.