There is no limit to what women can accomplish’, this was the sentiment that Intimate Blue’s Joao Ferreira highlighted when he set out to empower the women in the Alex community. Joao came on-board as an instructor for Rays of Hope’s sewing centre. He has set up an 18-week course where the women of Alexandra learn how to sew and make garments to sell within the community.

Every Saturday morning, Joao works with six women and teaches them how to thread a needle, measure people for clothes and the right way to work with sewing machines.  

“Rays of Hope’s aim is to help move the people of Alexandra from vulnerability to independence and through this initiative, we are doing just that. Not only are we making these ladies self-sufficient, but we are also giving them the tools to be able to make clothes for themselves and their families. They can also sell them to the rest of the community”, says Ferreira. 

At the start of the course, the ladies were given a partner to work with and were required to take each other’s measurements. From that, they had to make a garment specific to their initial measurements. In December when the course ends and the garment is done, the ladies will be able to see if they fit and if they completed the course correctly. 

“As we are working with the ladies every step of the way, they should all be able to pass the course with flying colours and receive their certificate from Rays of Hope at the end. They can use this for future job opportunities”, says Ferreira.

“I am really enjoying the sewing course. Joao is empowering us and ensuring we know everything we need to before we move on to the next step. For example, we are currently learning the proper way to handle the sewing machine so that we don’t hurt ourselves or those around us. I can’t wait to see what the result is for my garment”, says Valerie Phalane, one of the ladies who is learning from Joao every week.

To add even more excitement to the cours犀利士
e, in December, the ladies will be hosting a small fashion show where they will be able to display and sell some of the items they made throughout the course.

Rays of Hope would like to take this opportunity to thank Joao for his time and effort and for empowering these ladies to achieve their dreams. The plan going into 2023 is to extend the programme to provide a space where the ladies can practise the skills they have learnt, be taught small business basics and start generating an income. A new group of students will join Joao on a Saturday, helping to move more people towards independence.