June 2021 2nd Edition

Sewing a brighter future

Written by Sphelele Ngubane

The KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society (KZNBDS) recently launched the sewing room, a project that offers sewing skills training and employment opportunities to partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing womeKZNBDS President Veetha Sewkuran with associate members Salo Mudaly, Anoosha Hanuman and Ajit Valjee; and sewing room beneficiary Bongiwe Coka.The project was initiated by KZNBDS President Veetha Sewkuran, who realised that while many women are unemployed, they have sewing skills they can use to generate an income.

“The focus of the project is to empower these women by strengthening their sewing capacity and helping them to find employment,” says Sewkuran.

It also aims to help them contribute to the development of KwaZulu-Natal’s economy.

“We hope they will eventually be able to secure sewing positions in reputable companies and factories. Our wish is to see this project grow and thrive,” says Sewkuran.

The project’s beneficiaries, who receive a stipend from the Department of Employment and Labour, are already making sleepshirts, pet cushions and covers and face masks.

They are taught sewing skills by qualified and experienced seamstresses.

Sewkuran says the enthusiasm of every person involved in the project has helped to keep it afloat and the marketing team has already earmarked future projects.

The society provides services and opportunities that improve the quality of life of blind, partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing people. It reaches out to the poor and unemployed in rural areas.

“The greatest challenge is how to improve these individuals’ quality of life… These almost forgotten people are not only deprived, but have disabilities, which leaves them feeling inadequate and incapable. Most of them receive no external assistance,” says Sewkuran.

The society also offers other programmes to its members, including community-based Braille literacy training, community-based rehabilitation, advocacy and sports development, among others.

For more information, contact the KZNBDS at 031 309 4991.

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