We met Joyce on the very first day of her course at the Tabernacle of All Tribes training centre in Lusaka, Zambia. With her beaming smile, you wouldn’t expect her story to be so full of suffering.
Joyce’s parents died suddenly of illness when she was a child. The only family she had left was her older brother. Needless to say, without parents to pay their school fees, they both had to drop out of school.
From then on, every day was a struggle to survive. The only way that they could earn any money was by doing piecework, also known as day labouring. This involves walking around and asking people if there is any work for them to do.
For women, this often means washing clothes and cleaning houses, where they are often subjected to extreme physical abuse. For men, this means backbreaking work without breaks. Either way, they hardly earn enough money to eat for a day, and there is no way to save money and plan for the future.
But Joyce’s passion and perseverance will take her far, and it is TWAM tools that will be the key to her success and allow her to get started on her ambitious path.
In the countries that we send to, gender roles are still very traditional. In general, most tailoring students are women, and most carpentry students are men. But there are no restrictions, and Joyce has proven this by starting a carpentry course.
When I asked her why she chose carpentry, she said:
"I have a dream of becoming a military carpenter and helping to keep the peace in Zambia."
Zambia is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, despite being surrounded by countries that have experienced extreme turmoil, such as military coups and civil wars.
Joyce told me of her love for her country and her brother. She told me that she sees tools and carpentry as a way for her to do this, to finally put her life of suffering and poverty behind her and secure a stable future for herself and her brother.
And of course, the impact isn’t only on Joyce and her brother’s lives. Joyce told me, as so many others did, that once she is a fully trained carpenter, she would love to open her own carpentry training centre where she can teach other people the skill that she sees as being the key to a better future.
We’ll be checking on Joyce in 6 months to see how she’s getting on with her course, and we’ll keep you updated.
Could you gift a carpentry kit to a trainee carpenter just like Joyce, giving them the key to a future free from poverty and suffering? Just £40 could transform a vulnerable person's life.