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Monday, 18 December 2017

Sewing for studies

SEWING OFF: Jeanette Niyidufasha overcame great financial obstacles to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education on 14 December. SEWING OFF: Jeanette Niyidufasha overcame great financial obstacles to obtain a Postgraduate Certificate in Education on 14 December.

Jeanette Niyidufasha arrived in South Africa from Rwanda in 2005. She first obtained a Diploma in Mathematical Technology from CPUT in 2015. After a year of being unemployed, the married mom of two decided to return to CPUT to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, which now enables her to teach Maths and Physics.


It was during these evening classes that lecturer Melanie Sadeck first noticed the beautiful pencil bags that Jeanette and other students were using. Sadeck offered the 32-year-old a lift home one wintery evening and heard how sewing sustained her family and paid for her studies.


“I could not believe that Jeannette was walking alone from the station in the pitch dark and during the ride, she told me about her struggle for survival, about her husband working as a car guard and how she was teaching other women to sew on Saturdays in Samora Machel in Philippi,” says Melanie.


While teaching remains her first love, Jeannette credits sewing with keeping her family alive.


“A friend told my husband and me about Wonderbags in 2014 and even though neither of us knew how to sew she gave us a one-hour lesson and for the rest, I watched YouTube videos. The more I watched the more I understood sewing and soon I could pay for groceries and other expenses, like my university fees,” says Jeannette.


Jeanette started teaching other women the skill and later joined a co-operative called Yes We Can in Philippi where she now works as a mentor.


Her husband, who has a Batchelor’s Degree in Administration, also sews on days that he isn’t working as a car guard at Palmyra Junction in Claremont.


Jeanette says mentoring the other women in the co-operative inspires her to keep her dream alive of being a teacher. She is also grateful to be graduating with no university debt. “My account is triple zero at CPUT,” she laughs.

For the latest highlights from #CPUTsummerGrad2017 visit the CPUT Facebook Page.
Visit the Yes We Can Facebook page for pictures of some of the goods that Jeanette and her colleagues produce.

Written by Abigail Calata