Setting women on the road to independence

Feennet is an organisation that forms a network of women willing to step out of their comfort zone to accomplish something.

The organisation has since its establishment last year trained over 500 women in various skills.

Mlenga: Skills can be
money makers

Feennet- Female Entrepreneurs Network founder Catherine Mlenga says they work with women that want to turn their skills and talents into money making tools with the aim of minimising poverty levels.

“It is also a way of keeping girls occupied after secondary school to reduce the rate of early marriages and early childbirth,” said Mlenga.

She said Feennet also organises training sessions, career talk and guidance; mentorship conferences, sends teenage mothers back to school or trains them to do business.

A Feennet beneficiary, Gabriella Chibwana, said she did not have any practical skills to make something substantial and sell, but claims that after her training, she is able to create something.

“I make dresses and bags which I sell to support myself at school. I get a lot of orders from people that have seen my work, but sometimes I am preoccupied with academic work to produce the desired amount of products,” says Chibwana, a mass communications student at the African Bible College (ABC).

On the other hand, Charity Sithole said she used to sew clothes for dolls and little children, but her work would not involve any measurements.

After her training with Feennet, she now makes bags and jewelry- she now measures with tape and sews better.

“These days I am able to sew with skill and for money,” she said.

Feennet recently trained about 58 participants for three days in hand sewing skills in Blantyre.

Participants were mostly youths from Thyolo, Mulanje, Zomba and Blantyre.

“We believe that one should begin from what they already have and where they are, that is why we are conducting free hand sewing trainings because not everyone can afford to buy a sewing machine, but everyone can sew without a machine,” she added.

Apart from just shaping skills into money making tools and keeping girls occupied after secondary school, Mlenga said they would like to eliminate the dependency syndrome in women by implanting a hardworking spirit in them.

“You will agree with me that women are more dependent on men, yet, some men do not make enough money to support them. If we continue being fully dependent on men, our economy will not improve,” she observed. n

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