Tailor Empowerment Story: Vanessza - Overcoming difficulties

This is a personal story of one of our Tailor Empowerment participants, who is currently training to become a seamstress as part of our charity program to break the poverty cycle. All names have been changed to protect their privacy.



When you first meet Vanessza, you see a typical nice young woman with long, curly, dark hair, a shy but friendly smile and very pink clothes. At first glance you would not imagine how hard this young woman is fighting to change her life with the help of SZERA’s transition program.


Not only is she taking part in the tailor empowerment program, she also works as a cleaner before the course, and goes to night school after the course to obtain her secondary degree. All of this despite having severe learning difficulties.


For Vanessza the transition program is a great chance to break the inherited poverty cycle and create the stability she has been missing. She grew up in a large family home with lots of relatives, until the tragic death of Vanessza’s uncle, who committed suicide at home. This caused family members to turn against each other, and living together was no longer possible. Vanessza and her family had to move out.

They moved in with her grandfather. In a small room with one bathroom lived 9 family members, who had nowhere else to go at the time. Vanessza told us this was the hardest time for the four of them (Vanessza, her brother and their parents).

Finally, after six months on a waiting list, they were able to join SZERA’s program and move into their own single room, for the four of them. After about one year, they had the chance to move to a temporary apartment (where they are now). After months of hard work, and proving they are responsible with their earnings, they are now on a waiting list for a more permanent home - an apartment that they would be able to rent for an indefinite period. A place they could finally call home.