Goal: R5,000.00 | Still Needed: R5,000.00 | Total Supporters So Far: 0 | Amount of People in Need: 13
Suraya Williams always secretly scoffed at her mother’s insistence that she wanted her daughter to take over the reins of her sewing business one day. Suraya wasn’t like her mother – at least she didn’t think so at the time. She wanted a life in the corporate world; she didn’t want to be making clothes for neighbours for the rest of her life. She didn’t even know how to work a sewing machine properly.
Then, in 2006, her beautiful, brilliant, talented mom passed away.
Months later, a cousin asked Suraya to make a wedding dress for her daughter. She couldn’t, she said. She didn’t know how to. But in the middle of all that grief, she somehow pulled it off. She made her first dress.
The following years saw her leaving her corporate job to start her own design business. Finally, for the first time in ages, she was doing what she was meant to be doing.
But something was still missing.
It was while she was following up on a few of the girls for whom she’d made matric farewell dresses when Suraya realized the plight of so many of Mitchell’s Plain’s young women.
Instead of reaching their potential and blooming after school, so many of them were sitting at home – 19 years old, without skills and without hope.
The Design26 Foundation is Suraya’s way of sharing the skills her mother somehow gave her with young women to whom these skills could mean a brighter future. Every 6 months, Suraya and her assistant welcome a new batch of young women into their course. During these 6 months, the group gathers a few times a week to learn not only sewing skills but gain fortification for life.
These courses are open to girls aged 15 – 21, completely free of charge. When transport is an issue, Suraya and her husband happily pick students up from their homes.
On Saturdays, Suraya teaches a paid class to women older than 21 and uses these funds to help keep her free classes running. For these, she asks R130 per lesson.
In 2018, Suraya’s project received an R80,000 contribution from the Dis-Chem Foundation. This is paid out monthly and has an enormous effect on the amount of difference Suraya can make in Mitchell’s Plain.
This funding, however, will soon run out, and Suraya will once again face the uncertainty that lack of funding brings.
Photographer: Eugene du Plessis from Take My Hand | Voice Artist: Malaika Jones | Writer: Ané Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Development, Poverty Alleviation, Skills Development