Skills training for at-risk young women and girls Ubushobozi is a nonprofit vocational skills training center in Musanze, Rwanda, founded in 2008 by Jeanne Siporin, Alan Siporin, and Laura Boyea. Ubushobozi seeks to end the cycle of poverty through education and skills training in sewing, weaving, crocheting, and more. Teenage girls and young women in Rwanda are grossly neglected and vulnerable to the continued devastating effects of poverty; the girls of Ubushobozi Project have the opportunity to flourish and sustain themselves in a structured, nurturing, and supportive environment.
Two girls and a sewing machine Jeanne Siporin and Laura Boyea saw a gap in services for teenage girls who were left out of education programs for younger children. These girls, many of them orphans, were forced by circumstance to become heads of household, supporting themselves and other family members, their employment opportunities limited to farming and housekeeping. Jeanne knew several seamstresses from the local market and saw a way she could fill the gap. She offered sewing lessons to two local girls from the village. Chantal and Aline were Ubushobozi's first students and the project has grown to include 11 students and eight local teachers and staff since 2008.
Beyond sewing Ubushobozi provides each student a sewing machine, sewing instruction, fabric and all related materials, and an outlet for selling her creations. In addition, students are provided with a weekly stipend, a daily nutritious meal, and instruction in English, mathematics, computers, health and sex education, and traditional dance. Traditional Rwandan basket weaving was added to the curriculum in 2011, along with crochet, and yoga was introduced in 2012. Ubushobozi also provides the means to purchase coverage in Rwanda’s national health care plan to all students, staff, and members of their households. Students are accepted into Ubushobozi after extensive interviews and by peer recommendation based on these criteria: inability to attend school due to lack of fees; orphaned or head of household; living below the poverty line; or unemployment. Visit Meet Us to learn more about the students, staff, and volunteers, or click Donate to find out how you can get involved.