"In our village, women are the ones who run the household next to their husband. As an handicapped, I have little chance to get a home, let alone, a husband. But this is no longer the case. I am now a human being and a wife like others in the village and can get food for my family with what I am doing now thanks to World Vision" says proudly Madjiressem Sylvie a former sponsored child now living in Takapti.
Madjiresssem is one of the nine children of Djasrangar Pierre's family. The parents work in the farm to take care of their six boys and three girls. With the climate change, food production has decreased and it is difficult for the family to get enough food.
In 2001, Madjiressem was just seven years old when she joined the Bekodo Triangle sponsorship program with World Vision.
"I was selected by World Vision because of my handicap. I was laming in one leg. This has changed my life because I know, someone will take care of me at school or when I am sick"
"I was selected by World Vision because of my handicap. I was laming in one leg. This has changed my life because I know, someone will take care of me at school or when I am sick" she explains.
Madjiressem lost the proper use of her right leg after having received a bad injection during her childhood. This unfortunate event took place when, sick of malaria, she was taken to receive an injection from a local "nurse" that infected and left her limping for life. At that time, there was no health center in the village and volunteers who had received first aid training were considered health professionals by their communities.
World Vision helped the community of Takapti to build a school and a health center. "This was a good thing for me because I would not go far with my handicap if the school if far from the village. Today, there is a health center with trained staff in the village and accident like what happened to me will no longer happen. World Vision has helped the community to have trained teacher and nurse living now with us in the village" Madjiressem recounts.
She went to the school up to the sixth year of the Primary school level where she decide to stop studying because she expected her first child.
"World Vision did not abandon me when I decided to stop schooling" she remembers, " I was selected with a group of 19 girls to be trained in dressmaking here in Takapti."
"World Vision did not abandon me when I decided to stop schooling" she remembers, " I was selected with a group of 19 girls to be trained in dressmaking here in Takapti. We did that during nine months but I preferred to continue another year to be more qualified. Today, I am full of joy because I can dress people in my community but also earn a living but making clothes here in my workshop under this tree at home"
As part of its vocational training, World Vision has launched a training of dressmakers and carpenters in its ADP. Those who successfully complete the training are given the necessary tools and equipments to start a small business.
"We launched that program because we wanted that out of school children to learn a skill for their living This will also prevent them from migrating to the cities " explains Yalde Emmanuel, the Bekodo ADP Facilitator.
Every day, one family member helps Madjiressem to bring her sewing machine under the mango tree that serves as a workshop. This is where she spends all the day making clothes for the clients.
"I am happy because I get at least 4,000 fcfa - equivalent of US$ 8 every week. This is enough money for me. This can double during the Christmas period when everybody wants a new clothing."
"I am happy because I get at least 4,000 fcfa - equivalent of US$ 8 every week. This is enough money for me. This can double during the Christmas period when everybody wants a new clothing. I can work nonstop except when I take a couple of hours to cook food for the family.
Madjiressem is well appreciated in the village because she represents the victory over handicap. Now she is mother to 4 years old boy Diguemre Ruben and 2 years old Mendamem Rosine. Though her husband Madjirassem Eric farming efforts are frequently jeopardized by poor harvest, the couple takes care of their two children with the revenue from Madjiressem Sylvie’s work.
"I am a handicapped woman in an area where women need to fight everyday to be considered by their partners" she said. "I am sure nobody would consider me if World Vision hadn’t trained me as a dress maker. I am grateful to World Vision because they have taken care of me when I was a child. This job is now taking care of me and my family. Thanks to the training I received from World Vision, I am able to secure at least two meals a day for my family. That is a real success compared to the situation of many households here in Takapti. I am an accomplished and respected woman because World Vision sponsored me and gave me a power that defeats my handicap" she concludes.
Featured image: Sylvie with her children during her break from work.