|I could not keep up and I brought in more money selling donuts and by living occasionally with men who already had a stable situation." |
Niaina grew up in Ambaratafaly in the town of Manarantsandry. After completing her CEPE (Certificate of Primary Studies), Niaina’s parents sent her to Marovoay to live with her aunt and continue her studies at the Collège d’Enseignement Général (CEG). Given the cost of living in the city, Niaina soon had to work to contribute to the household income, as did many other children. She started selling donuts in the morning and after school. However, between her chores and this small business, she no longer had much time for her homework and lessons. As Niaina describes, “I was often late and I started getting bad grades”. She soon dropped out of school. “I could not keep up and I brought in more money selling donuts and by living occasionally with men who already had a stable situation,” she explains.
“At 16, I thought I had fallen in love with one of them who seemed to understand me and I became pregnant. But as soon as he found out, he left, leaving me alone with my baby. I was desperate. I feared the reaction of my parents and my aunt who had clearly specified that I was already a heavy burden without children.”
Soon after, Niaina became a beneficiary of the ILO-IPEC project on “Tackling Child Labour through Education” (TACKLE). The facilitator of the programme suggested that she follow a vocational training course and she chose sewing.
|With the support of our teacher,... after finishing our training my fellow trainees and I set up a small association-cooperative." |
“With supplies that the project put at my disposal, I could prepare for the arrival of my baby by providing her with the necessary clothing. With the support of our teacher, Ms. Jacqueline and the facilitator, after finishing our training my fellow trainees and I set up a small association-cooperative.” ILO-IPEC’s TACKLE project, through the Association Professionelle des Banques (APB), provided the course participants with a sewing machine, fabric and supplies to get started. These supplies enabled them to make baby clothes and other kinds of clothes to sell at the local market. They shared the profits. As Niaina explains, “Our trainer supports us from the beginning and ensures proper management of the cooperative, so that we always have a revolving fund available to make our goods and for the maintenance of our tools”.
In addition, Niaina has her own customers that order custom made clothes. “Most of my work comes in just before and during the beginning of the school year as well as during holiday periods. My occupation allows me to live decently with my little girl. I intend to enrol her into the public primary school in two or three years.” For now, I live alone with my daughter but I hope to find a good husband and later to have more children.”