Recently I was invited to attend a very special graduation for thirteen young Nigerien women. They weren’t graduating from high school, as you might think at this time of year — it was SEWING school!
Sewing. Knitting. Crocheting. Embroidery.
Life-saving skills for a young woman here in Niger.
Knowing how to sew gives these young women a chance to provide for themselves, freedom from dependence on men or others to take care of themselves, and, in some cases, their children. Literally, saving lives.
Explosions of joy and singing, speeches and pomp and circumstance, photos taken, tears of relief, laughter, diplomas dispersed, and the squeals of young girls with new life to look forward to! Phew!
I was a mess of tears. I felt such gratitude at being invited, being able to wriggle in on their shining moment. Conspicuous as usual, (the very few white folks like me simply can’t help it), I wholeheartedly celebrated this triumph with them! “Magnificent!”, my heart sang out for them! “You did it!” My hands numb from clapping. My heart wrung out from sheer amazement at the scene before me.
Four years. Hard work and sincere commitment. All necessary skills taught by experienced Nigerien women, intertwined with Bible studies (though many come from Musl*m homes), and upon graduation they each receive a sewing machine. Their very own.
A very special Butterfly Sewing machine. Hope and Life to look forward to!
I praise God for ministries like this one — giving these precious people a chance at life! To learn a necessary skill for living, and to learn to fully live in the Love of Christ!