Francine
18
Rwanda
Seamstress

My name is Francine, and I am a seamstress from the Gashora Sewing School. I am 18 years old and live with my mother, two younger sisters, and two younger brothers. My father left my mother when I was very young, and now he is in jail for genocide crimes. Despite our hardships, I love my country for its beauty. During my walk to school I can see a fenced garden that overlooks the low hills of the Bugesera region, where Tutsis were especially targeted during the genocide. Today this country has a vision for the future that I hope to be part of. All Across Africa’ Gashora Sewing School began in May 2011 and I have been a student and worker there ever since. I was very apprehensive when I started sewing school and wondered if I could make it. But now I love sewing. Because I was the oldest child in my family, I wasn’t able to attend school. Instead, I sold things at the market to support my family. Now, I am able to use the money I receive from All Across Africa to buy fruit and other things to help my family. I help on the farm on the weekends, but the income that sewing provides more than covers the necessary income to support my family. I graduated from sewing school in November and my goal is to start working on my own as a seamstress. My school has become a cooperative called "Vision for the Future”. I love my classmates; many of us have lost parents. I have become friends with my teacher Clementine, also. By working together at the sewing school, and now cooperative, we have developed a spirit of community; when one of us is sick we go to visit them. I thank God that I have learned how to sew and have met good friends and teachers through All Across Africa’ Gashora Sewing Program.