Setting up Training Courses and/or Micro Enterprises:

Main Goal

Tools with a Mission (UK) sent a shipment of tools for sewing, metalwork, etc. but now volunteers are needed to train our Tanzanians to use them and turn them into profitable little businesses so they can support themselves. Pastor Gervase would especially like the disabled and blind to be given training so they can be self-employed. This can apply to several trades, but we'll use sewing as the main example here on this page. They already have 22 sewing machines and expect that to be 30 by July 2011.



To train local believers and Tanzanians how to sew with a sewing machine well enough so that they could do this as work for hire. If they are to set up their own dressmaking or tailoring shop there will need to be some basic business lessons too.

Volunteers' Work:

Teach one or more students to sew basic seams and items such as bags, towels, etc., then simple clothing items, and on to more tailored pieces. The most basic steps can be demonstrated and 'shown' in just a week or so, but I believe the volunteer should mentor their student(s) right through to the setup of such a business, or until they are established in a sewing job, perhaps in a factory. Or if a controlled workshop for the handicapped is set up, until that is running under trained supervisors and managers.

Type of Volunteers Needed:

Those who can sew well, teach patiently, and understand the basics of running a simple seamstress or tailoring service for clientele. Age need not be a factor. Seniors may do great at this. In fact, if some retiree volunteers were to plan on spending several months - that would be wonderful!

Number of Volunteers:

If the training is to happen all at once, and there are 30 sewing machines, there should be at least one volunteer/teacher for every 4 - 5 students if there is a class of 30 students at once. If the sewing machines stay with the training center new classes can be run when the first is done. (If each student is given a sewing machine as part of her/his new business then this ends up being a one-time project).

Time Factor:

The basics of sewing can be taught in a week, but to establish each sewer in a micro-business, 3 - 4 weeks is much more reasonable. If there is sharing of sewing machines much more time is required. (I've tried to teach two girls on my sewing machine and they got restless waiting for their turns).

Costs to You

Remember that this church, and the people of this church are extremely poor. While their hearts are filled with glad generosity, you will need to be prepared to cover all costs for your travel and accommodations. If a number of volunteers come at once they may not be able to provide food, and you should be prepared to help out with the purchase of food-stuffs too.

Preparation Work for PMC to do:

Get the building ready where the training is to take place.
Set up the sewing machines and cutting tables.
Buy or find resources such as fabric, threads, needles, scissors, irons, etc. (unless the volunteers bring these)
Line up students for the sewing courses
Perhaps plan one course for those who will teach the sewing in the future,
and plan another for those who will set up their own small sewing business,
and a different one for those who are handicapped to the point where they need to work in a protected workshop/business where they will be looked after.
Seek to provide accommodation and meals for the volunteers. Plan some rest days to host your guest volunteers and take them to see some sights or go shopping.