"If I can sew well, I can get money to support my family."

  Fatima is an apprentice at By Grace Ghana. She's shown here with her best friend, also an apprentice.

Fatima is an apprentice at By Grace Ghana. She's shown here with her best friend, also an apprentice.

She was shy at first, when I first met her. By the end of my stay, she’d come running down the hot, sandy hill to meet me, throwing her arms around me in a huge hug.

I’d seen her picture, reviewed her application. No longer a face in my Gmail inbox, she was real – a real person with dreams and a family and a super adorable personality. She was so beautiful; her eyes were so kind.

Her cheeks were marked with two slash marks, characteristic of rural tribes. Just now, in 2017, they started to outlaw this practice of marring the faces of their babies.

Why did she apply for this training with By Grace? "If I can sew well,” she said, “I can get money to support my family."

I learned that the parents of many of these girls, including Fatima, were petty traders. They couldn’t afford to pay for their daughters to learn a trade like sewing. Fatima used to have to sell porridge to make money. Now, she was learning a dignified profession. Thanks to the gift of a By Grace donor.

Some small snippets of the interview with her are below:

What is your favorite part about living in Tamale?

So far I like it because I've found work - I came here because of the opportunity. 

What's your favorite memory with your family?

I enjoyed my sister's wedding. When she got married, I was very happy!

What is your favorite subject to study in school?

I like math. When they taught me this, I could calculate well.

What was your first job? 

I sold porridge. 

Why did you first want to learn how to sew?

I want to use it to help in the future.  This work will help me make money and sew my family's things.

Do you have a role model?

My mom inspires me. She helped me a lot and gave good advice.

What's your favorite proverb?

In Dagbani, it means, "If a town is far, there is another town that is farther." To me, this means that if you know something, someone knows more. 

What would you like to say to the person that paid for your apprenticeship?

“God bless that person.”