Since May, 2015, twenty-eight women have gone through the Chitenge Creations Sewing School in Pretoria, South Africa. This past Friday night, nine students graduated in the first ever Chitenge Creations graduation ceremony.
The caption in the picture says: “Thoughts from the Director”. Today the Director’s husband wants to share his thoughts based on what he has observed through his wife, MJ.
I have learned much from watching MJ over the past eight years. I watched as God birthed a vision in her heart to begin Chitenge Creations in Kitwe, Zambia. From those beginnings, there are women in Zambia today who have established self-sustaining sewing businesses in their home’s. MJ’s vision has been a reminder to me to never despise humble beginnings!
Today, that vision has expanded to Pretoria where, in partnership with Cornerstone Assembly, three levels of sewing classes are offered. MJ has been told by those experienced in the tailoring industry, that students graduating from the Chitenge Creations Sewing School are receiving some of the best education available. On a weekly basis, MJ model’s excellence and I am constantly motivated to never give up its pursuit!
In the near future, Chitenge Creations will expand to the townships where 62% of South Africans live. In some of those townships, 90% of women are unemployed. Plans are underway to begin the first Chitenge Creations Sewing School in the Kwanhlanga township in January 2016. This is a dream come true. MJ has taught me to never stop dreaming!
As global workers, there is often a pressure to sell success based on numbers. There is a false perception that newsletters to donors should talk about the thousands that have been impacted by what the global worker does. Chitenge Creations is not about “the thousands” that have gone through the school. As a matter of fact, a huge part of its success is the fact that there are a maximum of twelve students in a class, giving the teacher more time for personal interaction with each student. It is this personal attention that is giving the school the reputation of a quality education. MJ’s ability to resist worrying about what others think, continually reminds me that at the end of the day, quality has the greatest impact!
Stories are what sells vision. On Friday night, I heard student’s stories, like the one who said she feared to even touch a sewing machine, until she went through the Chitenge Creations Sewing School. By the way, she stood to receive her diploma in a dress that she had made on her very own sewing machine. One student now has a flourishing business selling hand made hand bags. Another graduate is now employed by a tailor in downtown Pretoria. The husband of one of the students shared how it is their goal to open a sewing shop to expand the small business his wife has already started. I love watching MJ’s face light up as she tells the stories!
So there you have it, the writer of this blog is pretty proud to be husband of the Chitenge Creations Director!
Until next time…