One of the major challenges in east Angola is the issue of reintegrating repatriated populations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and from Zambia.
(These people went to DRC and Zambia as refugees from the 27 years of civil war in Angola between the MPLA (People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola), the party in power since independence in 1975, and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), a rebel movement founded by Jonas Savimbi. This war only ended in 2002 after the killing, by government forces, of Jonas Savimbi. After the war ended, many Angolan refugees decided to return to their country.)
Our Group, based in a border province between the two countries mentioned above, provides assistance with the terrible situation of these refugees. When they return to Angola, after many years as refugees, neither they nor their children speak the local language or have any professional training, and the country’s structures for receiving these people are insufficient or even non-existent.
With this activity, we aim to provide professional training in dressmaking to 30 repatriated women in order to stimulate revenue-generating activities, self-employment and improvement in social conditions.
Funding from Emmaus International has enabled us to:
- buy equipment for the dressmaking workshop (domestic sewing machines and semi-industrial oversewing machine);
- transport and install the workshop equipment;
- set-up the workshop;
- provide professional training in dressmaking;
- encourage the opening of small group and individual workshops.
3 volunteers are involved in training the students.
For this activity, our partners are:
- Emmaus International, which funded the project;
- Municipal services of the National Institute for Employment and Professional Training (INEFOP), which accredits the training.
The training workshop is within the Emmaus Lunda centre – we have set up a room next to our offices. The workshops for women who have completed training are located in different places (markets, in front of the women’s homes, etc.). Locations for the small workshops really depend on the women themselves, and places that are easily accessible for their clients.
Having successfully carried out this activity for which demand is increasing, we plan to expand our activities onto a site that belongs to Emmaus Lunda. As well as training in dressmaking, we plan to include two other activities:
- Literacy, as we have identified that some of those we help do not know how to read or write;
- A hairdressing salon.
Through this professional-training activity, more than 30 women are now professionally trained in dressmaking, now have an independent revenue-generating activity, and have considerably improved their social conditions.
Once trained, the women are helped to set up small workshops individually or in pairs to continue working for themselves.
We are seeking new partners to:
- Recover machines that are broken and need spare parts, and repair them to be used in our training centre;
- Buy other machines to meet increasing demand;
- Include other activities such as: a hairdressing salon for women and a literacy room;
- Extend our impact in the region.