Evelyn's Story

I learnt to be a tailor straight after I finished primary school. I studied for a year, and then started work, but I found it difficult to find enough customers as there were lots of other tailors in my area. It wasn't until I started working at Neema Crafts in 2013 that I was able to start earning properly. I love my job here, I always have work and I am continually learning new skills. The range of items that Neema design and make is huge, I don't just make skirts any longer. It is also great because I am able to communicate with the people around me.

Since the age of thirteen I have been deaf, and since then I have found it difficult to communicate with anyone. Even though my friends helped, it was really difficult. My father looked for a deaf school for me, but when I arrived I found it really challenging to understand the teachers, as they wouldn’t use sign language. Instead I had to learn to lip read. When I finished primary school I couldn't go to secondary school even though I had passed my exams. This was because my father and mother could not afford to pay for the fees, so instead I learnt to sew. Now I have a regular good income which I send back to my son who is still living in Songea. He is at primary school there and I hope to help him as much as possible. Here people know I am deaf, and when they come into Neema they greet me as such. I love working with people, I know I am not alone and I hope to continue working here for a long time.