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Miriam teaches tailoring in a relief camp in Darfur. Credits: Edwyn Shiell/ACT-Caritas

Miriam teaches tailoring in a relief camp in Darfur.
Credits: Edwyn Shiell/ACT-Caritas

Caritas Internationalis works in Darfur in cooperation with Action by Churches Together (ACT) helping 350,000 people, including 240,000 who have lost their homes. The implementing partner, Norwegian Church Aid, has two national Sudanese partners, the Sudan Council of Churches and Sudanaid (Caritas Sudan).

Miriam is a tailoring teacher in Bilel Camp, one of Darfur’s relief camps. It is home to over 30,000 Sudanese who have fled violence. This is her story.

“My family came to Bilel Camp because of the fighting. It is still not safe for us to return. I come from Kukuja village which is only about 5 km from here. My husband and 10 children have been here with me for six years now.

“Back in my village, I was taught tailoring skills by my mother when I was very young.When I arrived in Bilel, after the community centre was established, they asked me if I would become a ‘tailoring trainer’ and teach the women in the camps.

“Over the past few months I have trained 106 women. Jobs are very scarce for women in the camps, so this training is vital.When they can make the shirts and school uniforms themselves, they sell them in the markets. This is excellent for their families. It is a very good way to make money.

“The women receive sewing machines and a quantity of cloth so that they can start their own businesses. They form sewing groups to start these income-generating activities. The groups provide a place for the women of Bilel to come together and discuss their days. Without these groups, women in the camps are completely restricted.”