Flood victims start sewing, knitting club

News and Press Release
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by Tonderai Saharo

Amid the gloom of life among victims of the Tokwe Mukosi dam floods housed in tents at Chingwizi camp, some enterprising individuals have come up with novel ways of earning a living.

Jaison Chiveza, 39, has brought together a group of 65 women and men into sewing and knitting club, with the objective of making uniforms for the new Chingwizi school.

Chiveza is a trained tailor who operated a sewing shop at Gunikuni shopping centre in the Mukosi resettlement area. On February 16 he found himself living in a tent at Chingwizi after rising dam waters displaced his village 7b

His family is part of the nearly 3,000 families now resident in the sprawling camp tucked in the eastern corner of Mwenezi district bordering triangle sugar estates some 200km south of Masvingo city.

There is little if any activity in the camp, with both men and women wandering around the supply tents where donated food and other items are kept in the hope of landing some piece work. Others lounge in the tents and or in the shade of trees watching the sun rise in the east and go down in the west while waiting for bits of information from government on its plans for their future.

Children play with paper balls in the dusty open patches and along the roads that cut through the maze of tents.

Chiveza decided to do something to lift his spirits and the hopes of those willing to work for themselves and carve new lives in the virgin bush. “I went to the authorities the headmen and eventually the district administrator and told them it will be important for us to start a sewing club to sew uniforms for schools surrounding us,” he said.

“We came together into a group of 65 people. Only three have sewing experience. We also managed to source 13 sewing machines,” he added. Twenty-five members are experienced knitters who are already doing jerseys as winter fast approaches , while others are undergoing dress-making training.

The biggest challenge facing the group is the lack of materials to enable full production. They need t five knitting machines, a sewing machine for each member and solar panels for the operation of electrical machines.

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