Seven young women are launching their tailoring business with the support of the US government-funded DREAMS project.
Today, the seven entrepreneurs delivered 300 face masks to Project Hope for use in safe spaces around Windhoek. Safe spaces are locations at schools or in the community. Adolescent girls and young women, enrolled in the DREAMS program, meet to discuss matters affecting young women.
US ambassador Lisa Johnson congratulated the young female entrepreneurs at the small handover ceremony at the Project Hope Namibia offices in Katutura, saying “The DREAMS programme takes a holistic approach – because our emotional, physical and financial health are all related. This has become increasingly clear with Covid-19. I am happy to see that you are becoming successful businesswomen in mask tailoring.” After the DREAMS program trained the seven women, they received ten sewing machines and tailoring accessories, as well as fabric, provided by the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade. Each of the seven entrepreneurs produces several face masks per day. Each mask is sold for N$20 to N$25. The young women are currently operating from a temporary space in the community while they develop marketing material to expand sales to new clients. The acronym, DREAMS, stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDs-free, Mentored and Safe – a project funded by the US PEPFAR program (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) through USAID (the United States Agency for International Development). Project HOPE Namibia and other organisations are the implementing partners for the DREAMS programme. The programme has many activities that seek to prevent new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women.
Those projects include reproductive health, HIV and violence prevention education, financial literacy and economic strengthening. The DREAMS program currently operates in the Khomas, Oshikoto and Zambezi regions, with almost 12 000 active participants and will soon expand to Oshana and Kavango East.
The PEPFAR program, which funds DREAMS, is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative – a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. PEPFAR employs the most diverse prevention, treatment and care strategies in the world, with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results.