Durban — Ten students began their fashion designing careers when the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society (KZNBDS) launched its Sewing Training Centre for Deaf and Hearing Impaired students on Friday.
Society president Veetha Sewkuran said that on top of a stipend, the students were guaranteed jobs at the end of their training.
She said the idea of a sewing centre was born during the Covid-19 pandemic, when people were mandated to wear masks, which hindered sign language communication because most of the signs use facial expressions.
Sewkuran said that is when the sewing-room idea was born and a group from the society staff made window masks and supplied them to businesses and schools across the country.
“Through generous donations from ATASA, Vijay Bhagwan and Prestige Clothing, who will be providing the first class with training and stipends, these students are guaranteed jobs at the end of their training,” she said.
She also shared that Liezel Patterson from the Victor Daitz Foundation would be funding their computer lab, fully equipped for the KZNBDS Society.
One of the students, Zoleka Zawuka, said she became deaf after an accident with a paraffin stove as a child. She said that her life working for a franchise and clocking off work late was difficult because she often became a target for being mugged.
“I came here to learn sewing because I want the skill and earn a living to take care of my four kids,” she said.
Pam Moonsamy, the class facilitator, said that they had operational challenges in the beginning but bounced back quickly.
“I am very happy with my students, they follow instructions and last week they made their own bags,” she said.
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