It has been a while, a lot has happened and my goal remains - helping better the lives of disadvantaged girls through my small creations company, Created by 'nique. I have been pondering the "how to do it" for a while, and decided to use what I work with everyday. I have approached a company called Forewomen (in South Africa) - to provide free design and sewing lessons to the girls in the Soweto High School in Braamfischerville. Forewomen runs a voluntary mentorship programme at the school for girl learners from Grade 9. Amongst the group of girls participating in the mentorship, there are some who have indicated that they are interested in pursuing a career in fashion design. I believe that sharing some of my skills will help them in taking the first step to understanding the world of garment design and construction. It has been welcomed idea and I cannot wait to start and make a difference in the lives of these young minds.
I have been involved in this mentorship before, therefore my free lessons will be a lot more than sewing, it just so happens that the basic hands on skill that I will share with them is to make clothes. I will be sharing my marketing and customer development skills based on my corporate experience and "learnings", how to write business plans, how to take ideas and turn them into commercially viable strategies and actions. I will also be involving them in my own business and recruit those that I can to work with me in the little creations company that I have. In a nutshell, I will share with them basic skills to get them "going" so they know they don't have to wait for hand-outs. Based on what I saw when I last went to the mentroship class, I doubt many of them will have funding to go to university or college to further their studies after they pass matric. As a result, the hands on technical experience might come in handy for them.
The exciting part about this project is the Matric dance dress campaign that I will engage in. The goal is to create beautiful gowns for the girls to wear at their 2014 matric dance. We will source previously used Matric dance dresses from those who have been privileged to have them, we will refurbish them so that the girls can use them. For most of these girls, affording to pay for the dance will prove to be difficult for their parents, let alone buying elegant dresses for the event. My goal is to make it possible for as many of them as possible to not only be able to pay for the dance but to look stunning in dresses that THEY have made! I know for sure that there is a gratifying about wearing something your hands made.
(PS: A Matric dance is the final school year dance).