On #IWD2018, we are celebrating the inspirational stories of young women we are working with around the world. This is Sandrine’s story from Togo:
‘Before coming to Lomé, I lived in Balime village; I am a mother of 3 children. I am an orphan with no father or mother, so my children are very dear to me, but we have to live apart so that I can provide for them. My children are still in the village being taken care of by my grandmother. I have two boys and a girl; they are 13, 8 and 6 years old. It is a 3-hour drive to see them.
To try to meet our needs I was trading charcoal, but I did not make enough income from this. I was abandoned by the father of my children, so I am the sole provider so my family.
I wanted to try to take my life in hand. I wanted to become a hairdresser, but for this I needed a diploma and to study hairdressing. Before hairdressing I tried sewing, but this activity wasn’t for me.
I had started training as an apprentice, but the boss who had offered to help me pay for the training and sign the contract died. I lost all hope. That’s when Koffi came to my rescue. He said I could continue training with him and introduced me to YMCA Togo so I could get funding for it.
I was so happy when YMCA accepted me onto their programme and I got my contract signed. Since signing the contract for my training, I have regained confidence in myself and resumed my training. For me, the troubles are over. I met Koffi on March 8, 2016. That’s when I became a person again.
Before I was angry often. I got upset quickly; I felt I had a lot of hate in me. I participated in two YMCA camps and learned a lot from the talks there. They taught me how to calm down. I gained confidence and self-control. I am much more patient now. I found joy thanks to the camps.
I passed my hairdressing exam in September 2017 – for the moment I continue to help Koffi. For the future, I’m thinking about opening a workshop, I want to make the most of what YMCA has done for me. I received a ‘starter kit’ to start my small business: a large mirror, a vanity mirror, a chair, two clippers, combs and scissors.
Now I am looking for a place where I can open my workshop. I have hope again.’
At Y Care International, we will continue to #PressforProgress so that young women like Rose get the support and training they need to secure jobs and start their own businesses.