Girls Vocational Hub- ‘Girls’ Space’ Pilot Project Launched

Girls Vocational Hub – ‘Girls’ Space’ Pilot Project Launched

Following recent visits to Rwanda, one aspect of our work has become increasingly important.
Felix, headteacher at Faith and Hope Primary School, community Pastor and trained social worker, has identified a girls’ vocational hub as by far the most important community need. This has been backed up by our conversations with many local women.

Girls in the community of Gako, where Faith and Hope is situated, are very much second-class citizens compared to boys. A very small percentage of girls go on to attend secondary education after completing Primary 6. This is due to a combination of financial constraints and also the cultural expectations that women should be out working in the fields, or as maids for more wealthy families.

There are currently no other routes to the workplace or training opportunities for those many girls leaving education after P6 in Gako.

Together in Sport Rwanda (TiSR) ultimately aims to build a girls’ vocational hub within the community of Gako for vulnerable young women who are or have been unable to participate in any further education after P6.

The main objective of the proposed hub (to be named ‘Girls’ Space’) would be to provide young women with the vocational skills identified by women in this area as being the most useful, and most likely to increase their opportunities for paid employment. The skills of cooking, sewing, hairdressing and nail work were those deemed most likely to enable young women to start their own small businesses.

In order to assess the need for such a project TiSR have launched a ‘Girls’ Space’ pilot study for a period of between six months to one year.

This pilot will invite six girls, identified by Felix as the most vulnerable and most likely to benefit from training of this type, in an existing building in Gako.

Ester (Felix’s wife) who is a qualified teacher, will lead this pilot project, as teacher of both cooking and sewing, but also will take on the role of a mother figure. Some of the girls do not have a mother, so their time with Ester could also be valuable emotional support. Ester will be responsible for the planning and delivery of the teaching sessions, in accordance with correct framework guidelines.

During the pilot study, the hub will run three mornings per week, and one afternoon will be dedicated to sports.

The building utilised for the pilot study is owned by Felix and Ester and will be rented at a cost of £30 per month. This will enable kitchen facilities to be available for cooking workshops.

Sewing tuition will include both theory and practical sessions. The girls will work towards being able to make school uniforms, with the eventual profits from the sale of their work being ploughed back into the project. This will form the start of a social enterprise, once the girls are sufficiently skilled to be able to sell uniforms to parents of school pupils. In the first few months, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills will be the priority, with profits as part of social enterprise being a more long-term aim.

Prior to the initiation of the pilot, a visit was made by Felix to a similar African project, in another area, to examine its curriculum and general set up and to learn from its experience. The TiSR pilot study will be fully monitored. Data will be collected and evaluated throughout the course of the project. The outcomes will be fully documented.

The monthly costs involved in running this pilot project – rent, electricity, teaching materials, transport costs to purchase materials, water (no cost when the TiSR well is installed in July), night watchman (to cover an increased security risk) and stationery, will total £203 per month. This cost will be covered by funds already raised by TiSR.

Girls’ Space will be entirely separate from Faith and Hope School, both physically and financially.
If the pilot study is successful, the charity would aim to construct a dedicated building to accommodate an enlarged Girls’ Space. TiSR already owns a suitable piece of land for this proposed building which is within a short walk from the school in the centre of the community. It would comprise four large rooms and two smaller rooms, and would be of typical local construction at an estimated cost of £12,000. We could then aim to incrementally increase the intake of suitable girls for training.

The cost of this new building would be covered by a combination of money raised by volunteers prior to trips to Rwanda and fundraising events.

If you would like to get involved with helping us fundraise for our Girls vocational Hub please get in touch: