Young Namibian Women Launch Face Mask Tailoring Business through U.S. DREAMS Program

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U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson congratulated the young female entrepreneurs at the small handover ceremony at the Project Hope Namibia offices in Windhoek
Looking on as Business DREAMS Girl Ester Naidila sews a face mask at the back from the left: USAID Country Representative, Dr. Randy Kolstad, Industrial Engineer at the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade, Frans Nekuma, DREAMS Chief of Party Bernadette Harases, and U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Ralph Hofelein, USAID

Windhoek, Namibia, July 14 – Seven young women are launching their own tailoring business with the support of the U.S. government-funded DREAMS project in Namibia. Today, the seven entrepreneurs delivered 300 face masks to Project Hope for use in Safe Spaces around the capital, Windhoek. Safe Spaces are locations at schools or in the community where adolescent girls and young women enrolled in the DREAMS program meet to discuss matters affecting young women.

U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson congratulated the young female entrepreneurs at the small handover ceremony at the Project Hope Namibia offices in Windhoek, and said, “The DREAMS program takes a holistic approach - because our emotional, physical, and financial health are all related. This has become increasingly clear with COVID-19. I am happy to see that you are becoming successful businesswomen in mask tailoring.”

After the DREAMS program trained the seven women, they received ten sewing machines and tailoring accessories, as well as fabric provided by the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade. Each of the seven entrepreneurs produces several face masks per day, and each mask is sold for N$20 to N$25. The young women are currently operating from a temporary space in the community while they develop marketing material to expand sales to new clients.

DREAMS stands for Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDs-free, Mentored and Safe - a project funded by the U.S. PEPFAR program (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) through USAID (the United States Agency for International Development). Project HOPE Namibia and other organizations are the implementing partners for the DREAMS program.

DREAMS has many activities that seek to prevent new HIV infections among adolescent girls and young women. Those projects include reproductive health, HIV and violence prevention education, financial literacy, and economic strengthening. The DREAMS program currently operates in the Khomas, Oshikoto, and Zambezi regions with almost 12,000 active participants and soon will expand to Oshana and Kavango East.

DREAMS is funded by the PEPFAR program, which is the largest commitment ever by a single nation toward an international health initiative - a comprehensive approach to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. PEPFAR employs the most diverse prevention, treatment, and care strategies in the world with an emphasis on transparency and accountability for results.

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