Grant awarded to American Fund for Charities: Project Gateway

Project Gateway has been granted funds for the continuing efforts of their Empowerment Program. The Empowerment Program is run through the Gateway School of Fashion Fusion with Craft and Business Training and Mentoring. Through the Program, over 1000 students have been trained in hard skills such as woodwork, metalwork, electrical training as well as Fashion Design, sewing and craft development. It has also assisted more than 250 developing entrepreneurs in better business practice and mentored the leaders of these groups until they are secure in Business knowledge. Over 70% of the entrepreneurs were still running successful businesses 2 years after their training. Most of the trainees are unemployed women, who are given the opportunity to improve their hard skills of Craft making and / or Fashion Design as well as Business Skills training. This enables them to generate income for themselves and their families.

Funds from this grant will be used to support individuals unable to pay the fees associated with the Program. Learners would under normal circumstances be required to pay a fee structure. While this is built into the budget the reality is that most of the learners are unemployed, out of school, under-educated learners. Project Gateway is a development program and does not offer “hand-outs” as such. The learners are already paying transport costs to reach the center 3 days a week. They travel for over an hour to get there and over an hour to get back home. They desperately need to generate income for themselves and their families and they feel that if they were better qualified in the hard skills of Fashion Design and sewing and had a greater understanding of Business, they would be able to increase their income and build sustainable businesses.

The project is making a sustainable different by addressing unemployment and the lack of skills and business education. By educating and up-skilling 20 - 25 learners per year in Fashion Design and Fusion with Craft and by assisting 90 people per year with the Paradigm Shift Business Training program and encouraging them to go on to the next 2 Modules which tracks their Business growth and success for a period of at least 18 sessions, the organization believes that it makes a difference to the quality of each person’s life. History has shown that most of the learners who study through Gateway School of Fashion continue to generate income at varying levels for a number of years after the course. The Paradigm Shift Course has been offered to over 2000 people in South Africa. Results so far indicate that over 70% have increased their Business Income, and 34% of the people are now saving on a regular basis.

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