My name is Hawa*, I am 17 years old, and I live with my young daughter and grandmother. Before I came to Future Focus Foundation’s Institute for Gender Empowerment (FIGE), I used to help my granny to sell vegetables in the local market at Gormbu.

One day, on my way home from the market, a friend of mine told me about a vocational training centre in Burma that provided training for teenage mothers in marketable skills. The following day I went to the vocational training centre. I was impressed by the welcoming the tutors were. They told me about the training programme offered at the centre. Becoming a seamstress had always been my dream and I knew this was an opportunity for that dream to come true.

"Becoming a seamstress had always been my dream and I knew this was an opportunity for that dream to come true."

Thankfully, I was enrolled in a 10-month tailoring course which I later learned was funded by a UK based charity, Highway One Trust through one of Future Focus Foundation partners, ChildHope UK.

When I started the training, it was not very easy leaving my child with my granny, who also had to go to the market to earn our daily wage. It was a challenging moment but I had to endure. I am most grateful to the management of centre for their care and support.

"I am highly indebted to the life skills tutor Mr. Alfred Musa who was always counselling me and I am proud that I can say I am self-reliant and confident."

The training was quite interesting and educative. Even when the training was interrupted by the Covid, I could visit the training centre and the tutors were always helpful. Their support helped me a lot during the Covid outbreak.

I have just completed the training in Tailoring and Embroidery. I can now make income from my trade and able to support my daughter and grandmother. My vision is to give back to the training centre and pass on the skills and knowledge I have acquired to other girls affected by similar situations as I have experienced. I shared my thought with the centre manager and she was happy. I am currently providing voluntary service as a tutor.

Thank you to those who provided the funds for this girls’ empowerment programme.