By Salomon Djimte; Edited by Katie Hackett
"In our village, women are the ones who run the household, next to their husband," says Sylvie. "As a handicapped [person], I had little chance to have a home, let alone a husband. But this is no longer the case."
Sylvie lost full use of her right leg after receiving a bad injection during her childhood. At the time, there was no health centre in the village and volunteers who had received first aid training were considered health professionals. The poorly administered injection gave Sylvie an infection and left her limping for life.
It seemed like her chances of finding a husband and living a "normal" life were slim, but when Sylvie took an opportunity offered by World Vision, it put her on a different path.
"I was selected with a group of 19 girls to be trained in dressmaking," she says. "We did that for nine months, but I preferred to continue another year to be more qualified. Today, I am full of joy because I can dress people in my community, but also earn a living by making clothes."
Every day, one family member helps Sylvie bring her sewing machine to the mango tree that serves as her workshop. From here, she spends the days making clothes for her clients, earning about 8 USD every week.
"This is enough money for me," she says, adding that it can double during the Christmas season when "when everybody wants new clothing."
Now Sylvie is mom to Ruben, 4, and Rosine, 2. Her husband Eric's farming efforts are often thwarted by bad weather and poor harvests, so Sylvie's work helps them take care of their kids.
"I am a handicapped woman in an area where women need to fight every day to be considered by their partners," she said. "I am sure nobody would consider me if World Vision hadn't trained me as a dressmaker."
Sylvie works all day, stopping only to prepare the family's meals. Her work is well-appreciated, and not just by her family.
"I am an accomplished and respected woman because World Vision sponsored me and gave me a power that defeats my handicap," she says.
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