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Empowering Women in Rural Communities in Belize to Embrace the Future Print E-mail
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Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00

BELMOPAN, Monday 18 August, 2014: 
26 women in the northern rural communities of Belize have been empowered with life-time skills training in sewing, and are now qualified as seamstresses thanks to a 10-month Vocational Garment/Sewing Training project financed by the Government of Belize at a total cost of $51,440.00 through a loan from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

This means that the women from the villages of San Jose and Guinea Grass are now equipped with skills to access employment opportunities, generate income, be self-sufficient, and significantly contribute in decision-making roles in pursuit to further develop their communities and by extension the wider society of Belize.

The sewing project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund as part of its mandate to work in line with the Government’s poverty alleviation strategy and in this regards, SIF is committed to empowering Belizeans in rural and urban communities across Belize, remarked the Executive Director, Mr. William Lamb Jr.

He continued, “SIF in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, is addressing, and will continue to empower Belizeans with relevant skills training for employment, businesses and entrepreneurship.” 

The two top graduates, Floridalma Velasquez and Ana Vasquez from the villages of Guinea Grass and San Jose respectively were presented with awards by SIF Executive Director, Mr. William Lamb Jr. and Chairlady of Orange Walk Technical High School, Mrs. Enid Morales. The talented seamstress in her remarks to the audience spoke on the importance of the sewing program.

Sewing was identified by the women’s groups as a skill since many of them buy custom-made school uniforms or sometimes travel to other communities in search of a seamstress. The sewing equipment, 4 industrial and 20 regulars used by the group during training will remain at the Multipurpose Centers in the respective villages for future production and programs. Both groups have also received start-up material for production of items for sale and plan to partner with the Cooperative Department, Women’s Department and the House of Culture.

After the fourth month of course, they all managed to purchase a sewing machine to work from home where they started doing basic workmanship for neighbours and relatives. Other notable achievements include the assembly of 150 chair covers for Orange Walk Technical parent’s night; a contract to sew graduation gowns for the village primary school, a contract to sew soft furnishings for a hotel that caters for tourists, and sewing uniforms for a company in the nation’s capital, the City of Belmopan.

The rural women’s group was also instrumental in sewing their caps, gowns, and dresses they wore under their gowns they wore at graduation as well as the elegant dresses worn by the little princess who served as ushers at the exercise held at the Orange Walk Technical High School on 9 August, 2014.