Our impact, Their voices

From Fahmida’s creative hands to the international fashion stage

The ILO's Skills 21 Project trained 13 and 40 candidates to become Master Trainers and Trainers, respectively. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Project supported the implementation of entrepreneurship development training through online training modalities using digitalized SIYB materials. As a result, 38 trainees completed the online trainings that started on 31 August 2020, and 40 trainees are presently completing their trainings. In addition, 20 SIYB trainers from the Skills 21 partner institutes attended orientation programs to help them roll out online training.

Feature | Dhaka | 20 October 2020
Fahmida is 42 years old and lives in Razabazar, Dhaka. She had always dreamt of being a fashion designer and running her own business. A few years ago, her mother helped revive Fahmida’s dream by handing her two sewing machines and US$60. She then started her small tailoring business at home.

Fahmida is in an exhibition with her products© ILO
In 2019, she applied to the SIYB program. Fahmida soon learned how to develop a business plan, financial records, marketing strategy, as well as soft skills such as negotiation and communication skills. The newly acquired knowledge and skills helped her grow her fashion business and now she employs 17 people.

Shortly after completing the training, Fahmida was able to raise the necessary funding for the business and expand it from a home-based company to a commercial shop. She also developed a website and a social media presence and started selling her designs online (her most profitable sales channel now-a-days), hence she was able to reach international clients. Fahmida’s talents were spotted by several leading Indian designers, who now outsource design and tailoring work to her company.

Fahmida also rediscovered her passion for learning through the SIYB programme and enrolled to study for a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. She is currently doing an English language course to improve her language skills in order to better communicate with her overseas clients.

Like many other entrepreneurs and small-business owners, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Fahmida’s company hard. As the business slowly resumes, she has no doubt that with her SIYB training and tailoring skills sales will increase again.

Thanks to SIYB, I was able to build my own business. I would encourage other entrepreneurs to do the same: learn all the key skills and run their own business.
Acquiring new skills is a continuous, lifelong process. In order to build a good business, you need to develop your own skills. I would encourage other women to keep learning and building to fulfil their dreams."