Brighter futures, custom-tailored.
It would be an understatement to describe Congolese clothing as ‘bright.’ Blouses, dresses, shirts, and headscarves come in every color- maraschino cherry, yellow the color of a child’s drawing of the sun, and swimming-pool blue; often on the same outfit, usually topped with a picture of the president, a football star, or the Pope.
Fashion opinions aside, almost all of this clothing is hand-tailored, as are bags, school uniforms (not as brightly colored), and baby onesies. Tailors make a decent wage making these items, selling them to Congolese and foreigners alike. With the help of master tailors volunteering their time, CAMME trains children to create new things to sell, and provides them with training leading to professional certification, allowing kids coming from destitution to support themselves and those who may depend on them.
In 2009, WC, now 14, came to CAMME for the first time. “My friends told me there is a free school where they provide a good education and we can learn vocational training and skills,” she says. Her parents were unable to support her; her mother earned $1 per day selling fermented manioc paste in the market, and her father was jobless and “too lazy to work,” as she describes it. When she found CAMME, she knew she had come to the right place. “CAMME is my family,” she says. “I feel more comfortable there than I do at home.” Now, almost finished with the second level in the sewing program, she makes skirts and dresses for herself and others in her neighborhood. For her, CAMME is more than just a place to develop a skill- it’s also a place to learn, and to play. Her training is interspersed with classes about women’s rights and women’s empowerment, something she puts in practice on the field.
“I play on the CAMME girls soccer team,” she says, “and our team is very strong. We play, but also talk about our lives, and our futures.”
With the skills she learns at CAMME, WC has big plans. “When I finish, I plan to start my own business and start making money, create my own universe,” she says. “I wish my future can be better so that I can also help vulnerable children and orphans someday.”
WC is just one of hundreds of children who are on track to a better life through CAMME. So many more are out there though, and we can help them- with your support.