Founded in 2007 by Rosalind Watt, initially working in partnership with TEAMS, Stitches sewing school has grown and matured well during its 12 years. Since 2010 it has become a fully-fledged TEAMS vocational training programme. In the UK we call Stitches a sewing school whereas in Uganda it is called a tailoring school.
Set up to teach a “skill for life” to those people who had received little or no education during the war years, it started with mainly mature students who, more often than not could not read or write. Since that time, hundreds of students have passed through our classrooms and acquired a skill which will help them throughout their lives. 2019 was Stitches most successful year yet. Over 60 students enrolled and we needed to recruit another teacher to assist JB, our Head of Department. Christine Akot has settled in well and improved academic standards, whilst JB continues to excel on the practical side. Most of our students have not completed their schooling so we also provide supplemental English lessons. Whilst our student base is now much younger than when Stitches started, we continue to reach out to those who have either dropped out of school, not achieved academically or just simply not sent to school because the family couldn’t afford it. Most come from poorer families so we deliberately keep fees as low as possible, we were shocked to find out last year that one tailoring school in Gulu charges 5 times our fees!
We are very proud that Stitches has one of the best pass rates of any tailoring school in the region and one of the best reputations for excellent practical work! We pray that this will continue. Charging low fees comes with a cost. We do not make a profit. Last year was the closest we came to breaking even with a short fall of under £500 for the entire year. With Covid-19 wreaking havoc globally, we doubt that we will come close to that achievement in 2020, especially as we now have another teacher to pay. Rosalind was encouraged to find that 45 students had enrolled by the time she arrived on site at the beginning of March.
Please consider whether you can support this programme. At a time when our funding is at an all-time low (all fundraising opportunities are currently “on ice”), 8 people each signing up to give £5 per month would, with Gift Aid, cover the shortfall we had last year and provide more security to this programme. However any amount, however small will help and be gratefully appreciated! The students know that their fees are heavily subsidised through the kind and generous support of others, so thank you from each and every one of those who are helped!