Clementine
Rwanda
Teacher/Seamstress

My name is Clementine, and I am the teacher at the Gashora Sewing School. I have been blessed with the ability to teach, and I use this blessing to teach girls and boys from the ages of 15-26 how to sew. I love these teens as if they were my own children. We all come together to heal from our hardships and work towards a better future. I have faced many hardships of my own which helps me relate to and comfort those I teach. When I was only 26 and living with my parents, my mother passed away. I felt lost without her. But I am able to hold on to her memory, which comforts me. This tragedy has allowed me to relate to many of my students who have also lost a parent. I can also relate to the hardships my students face in not being able to go to school as I have had a hearing problem since childhood that made me slow at learning. After all my struggles in primary school I could not go to secondary school so my aunt got me involved with a trade school for women called “Speak, I'm Listening”. The school taught me how to sew, and after graduation I stayed in touch with the program and visited often. The people at the school loved me; when I would come back to visit they would occasionally give me small sewing jobs and eventually taught me how to sew shoulder bags. One day when I stopped by the school, they said that they had recommended me as the teacher for All Across Africa’ new Gashora Sewing School. They said they recommended me because I was faithful and skilled. I was honored by their kind words and recommendation; and excited to teach young women like me. Today I love teaching. Seeing them makes me remember how difficult it was for me in school and makes me feel that I need to help those kids who aren’t fast learners. I feel blessed to have such friendly students who love me as much as I love them. They are all becoming very skilled; I hope one day to teach them how to make clothes in addition to the shoulder bags they sew. We are trying to develop a cooperative for them to work in and sell their bags through. I am so thankful and happy for this opportunity.