12 Jul Stitch by Stitch, a Better Future is Fashioned – Food for the Hungry
A better future often seems like an impossible dream to the teens and young adults living in the most impoverished communities around the world.
In countries like Burundi and Rwanda, for example, the average household farm does not produce enough harvest to meet the food and income needs of the family working so hard on the land. As the children become teens and young men and women, they must find a way to earn their own incomes and support themselves in order to survive.
Sadly, they often don’t have the skills or education necessary to succeed. This is because so many young people in these vulnerable communities are forced to drop out of school at a young age to help their families. It is the cycle of extreme poverty.
That was the situation for Fidele, a 25-year-old man in Burundi.
A Family’s Hope in Tatters
Fidele lived in a family of eight. Five were adults, including two aging parents who were no longer able to work. Among them, they shared one very small, not very productive plot of land.
Fidele dropped out of school in the eighth grade. Even his younger siblings started working daily for neighbors just to afford something to eat. No matter what Fidele tried, he was not able to to make enough money to cover even their most basic needs.
At the dinner table, there was never enough food. When family members needed medical care, there was no money to pay the cost.
Fidele had no skills and hadn’t learned a trade. After leaving school, he spent his waking hours trying to coax food from their patch of land and took what menial jobs he could for any wage that was offered. He could see the future offered little hope for his siblings as well.
Yet, by God’s grace and thanks to a generous gift of training made possible by Food for the Hungry (FH) supporters, Fidele found a way to craft a better future for himself and his family, while eventually helping other young people in his community. It all began when FH started working in Fidele’s community and offered him a life-changing opportunity.
A Better Future
“When I heard FH was going to assist the young people in my community by training them for various trades, I registered for the sewing program,” says Fidele, describing the moment his life began to change.
Sewing training is one of the livelihood-building programs that is a critical part of FH’s work in impoverished communities. The programs are especially helpful to adults who have lost their livelihoods through disaster or mobility issues, single women who are heads of households, and young adults who were unable to complete their traditional education and need a way to earn an income and lift their families out of poverty.
“We were trained for six months, and I received a sewing machine with its accessories,” Fidele continues. “My family and I are benefiting from this business and can earn between BIF 10,000 and 15,000 per day.” That amount translates to approximately $5-8 in U.S. currency.
With this gift, Fidele didn’t just learn to craft garments and tailor clothing. He became able to stitch together a better future, because he now supports himself, his parents, and his siblings. It’s a business he can continue to grow.
But that’s not all. Fidele has a dream.
In the next year, he says, “I plan to expand my sewing workshop by buying other sewing machines.” His purpose? “I want to mobilize other young people to join me in the fight against poverty.”
A Global Tapestry of Better Futures
Fidele and his community in Burundi aren’t the only ones learning skills that will increase their incomes and help lift communities out of poverty for generations to come. With the prayers and generosity of faithful supporters, FH has implemented similar programs in Rwanda, Uganda, and many other vulnerable places around the world.