Anabela João Luís was stung by a needle when she tried to use a sewing machine for the first time. She almost dropped out, but her determination to become a young, financially independent woman forced her to overcome the traumatising experience. Regrets aside! The newly trained seamstress, who still works under the guidance of her mentor (a master craftsman), lays her hands on the most diverse clothes and textiles from people in her neighbourhood who are looking for comfort when it comes to dressing well.
"I overcame it," she said repeatedly, referring to the challenges she faced handling the sewing machine, as well as the disbelief of some people who have met her that she would succeed in life. Anabela recognises that there is still a long way to go, but the future looks much brighter for her daughter, who now attends school thanks to her courage and determination.
Anabela, thin and short of stature, burst into tears as she was sharing her life's experience with the other youths attending the workshop held on 3 November this year to present the results of the HOJE project. In fact, she is the portrait of 1,586 (709 women) young people trained during the second phase of the HOJE project (2020-2022), implemented by Helvetas.
The workshop was attended by project beneficiaries, vocational and professional training institutions, government representatives, the private sector and civil society organisations.
Watch the full video testimony from Anabela Luis.