Mbabatze is a young girl who is being supported by Loanhead Church. When we first met her she was living with her young daughter and her siblings in a small house which had peviously been a toilet. Mbabatze's situation has improved since then although life is not easy. Frequently when we meet her, the family has run out of food.
During our recent trip we learnt that a woman who runs a sewing cooperative near to where Mbabatze lives has offered to give her sewing training for six months. This is good news and a valuable opportunity but comes with the downside that if Mbabatze is to go to the cooperative each day, she will have to give up her part-time job. Fortunately, Loanhead have said they will provide some money to feed the family while Mbabatze gets her training.
We paid a visit to the cooperative which occupies a small shop on a dirt track of the main road. The room is filled with a dozen manual sewing machines each owned by a different woman. The women share the rent of the shop between them. They will also combine to buy quantities of material more cheaply than each individual could on their own.
On the day of our visit Mbabatze was clearly excited about learning something which may allow her to earn a better income than she has at the moment. She also has somewhere to go each day in the company of a group of older women who are able to look after her and provide support. She looked a lot more relaxed and happy than we have seen her before.