18 September 2022
“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”
(Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
Working with vulnerable and orphaned children, it can be easy to have many great ideas on how to empower them and provide them with life-changing skills. However, we have learned that empowerment is a very slow process, one that is more of a mentality change and belief in oneself more than anything else. A process whereby one is also willing to be a lifelong learner. That being said, we strive to provide the Hlanganani kids with both the “skills to fish” as well as the “fishing rods!” and the belief that they are able to “catch the fish.”
During September, we began a sewing class to teach those who were eager to learn how to sew. The group started by learning how to sew their own reusable sanitary pads. This provided them with not only the knowledge of basic sewing but also how to make something that is necessary for all of the girls.
Additionally, if they so desire, the girls can sew and sell these pads and start a little business for themselves. As 30% of girls in South Africa miss school each month due to not having sanitary pads during their menstrual cycle, this sewing endeavor also helped ensure that no more days of school would be missed!