Cecile
18
Rwanda
Seamstress

I am Cecile, 18 years old, and I am amazed at the confidence that other young people like me have acquired after enrolling in a sewing school program in our community. The program was started by a nonprofit called All Across Africa. After completing our training, my classmates and I have transitioned into a sewing cooperative. As a cooperative member, I have been trained by All Across Africa’ on how to set up a bank account and save money. I am excited because I am earning more money as a cooperative member than I have as an individual student with a monthly stipend. This will mean even more opportunities and hope for my family. I used the stipend for attending school and now my income I now receive to support my mother and nephew. My father is in jail for genocide crimes. Despite conflicts that this might cause with other classmates who lost family members in the genocide, we have chosen to unite and be reconciled. I will never forget the warmth and affection that I felt last year when my brother died, and my classmates and teacher came to be with my family during this difficult time. On the weekends, I fetch water and find pastures for my cow to graze in. I could not go to sewing school without the support of my family. My mother prepares the food, takes care of the cow, and cultivates our field while I am at sewing school. I was not able to afford to pay the school fees to complete my education in secondary school but I hope, at some point, to be able to even complete my education with the help of the money I make sewing. Life used to feel hopeless; All Across Africa has given me hope and a reason to work for a brighter future.