"We Make Our Own Money"
Alfalit Skill Training Graduates in Margibi Testify
Blending literacy and skill training has paid off for women who were once considered as liabilities to their husbands.
Mary Cruzu , Grace Bondo, Mabel Mulbah, Doris Morlu and Kemmah Gebor live in Firestone and run tailoring shops right from their homes. Each sews and earns at least US$150.
They responded to the impact of literacy and skill training on their lives this way, “we make our own money”. Back then, the women said they were only housewives who had no income except that their husband earnings.
Mabel Mulbah, 34, said the husband earns far below the family expenditure; therefore they credited in order to sustain their children in school. “The story has changed”, Mabel exclaimed, “I stay right at home, sew and get money. I raise more money for the family than my husband some times”. In addition to money raising, Mabel also appreciates her time spent being dutiful to her family and the community. She ended idled lifestyle, she graciously revealed.
Pastor Grace Bondo, 45, is admired by not just her husband, who heads the church, but also the church members for whom she is mostly the seamstress. Grace said she uses her sewing skills for outreach. Women in the community for whom she sews easily attend her church out of her invitation. Additionally, she reads the Bible and preaches therefrom since she got to read from Alfalit literacy class. “I live a life of change and respect from my family and the community because of what I have learned and practiced”, Pastor Grace Bondo conclusion.
Another woman who represents change is Mercy Cruzu of Barclay Farm
in Firestone, whose husband fled to an educated woman at the disadvantage of illiterate Mercy more than 3 years ago. In her grieve, Mercy found an Alfalit literacy class, enrolled and completed. She advanced to the Alfalit Skill Training program and practiced tailoring.
She now runs an attractive home tailoring center in Barclay Farm that makes her earn cash daily. She saved and bought herself a parcel of land to build her home. The run-away husband has met the reality of disappointment and now begging his way back to Mercy. He left an idle and unskilled wife, but now, he’s fighting his way back to be rescued by a skilled and literate woman. Mercy said she could consider reunion with her husband based on other factors but not on economic reasons. In her words, “I make money”.
In Liberia, women are commonly marginalized in their marital homes; worse if they’re economic burden to their husbands who are the sole bread winners. Illiterate women suffer increased risk keeping their respect and the marriage with educator men who see themselves superior and matchless to their wives. Hope comes when the women earn income and prove their stakes in the home. There are many advocacy voices against the abuse of women by men. Gender and domestic violence is on the increase despite the advocacy.
Alfalit acts differently by facilitating the women into literacy and skill development. The outcome of literacy and skill makes the women regain their respect dignity in the hands of their male partners. Alfalit Liberia says, all that a woman needs is to locate nearby literacy and skill training center and roll. With specified time period, they will have develop the skill to apply.
Kemmah Gebor 43 advises illiterate and unskilled women to strive to change their sad stories. By that, she thinks, they may save and restore the dignity of themselves and their marriages. “Nobody likes burden. If the man keeps feeling the weight of the women, the man may get tired and act otherwise again women. So, the solution is to look for program like Alfalit and attend, just learn and make your own money.
Madam Doris Morlu just won a contract from an orphanage home to sew book bags for kids. She was selected based on her skills and track record of treating customers with respect and timely delivery. She is a graduate of the Alfalit Skill Training program where she learned tailoring in Unification Town, Roberts International Airport in Liberia.
The women concluded with the hope that other women would be given the opportunity to learn and better their lives for the interest of their family and the community.
Margibi County host one of four(4) skill training centers of Alfalit Liberia. Women who have completed the Alfalit literacy program enroll free of cost to them to undergo less than 2 years of competence training that enables them setup small sewing businesses for themselves.