a qualified dressmaker in Lomé

Afi, who has worked from a very young age to support her family, only narrowly escaped a forced marriage. With Tdh’s support, she has successfully completed a dressmaker’s apprenticeship and is now training her own apprentice.

A fresh start

“My name is Afi. I lost my mother when I was four. I had to leave school after getting my primary school diploma, because my father could no longer afford to send me there. I began helping my stepmother sell coconuts. When I was sick, my father hit me and yelled at me, because it was our only source of income. On 19 December 2011, my father took me to Korbongou, 600 kilometres north of Lomé, supposedly to take part in ceremonies for my dead mother. However, when I got there, I found out he had organised for me to marry a man who lived in Niamey, Niger. With the help of my paternal grandmother, I managed to escape this forced marriage.

In Lomé, I was placed with a host family that welcomed and protected me. When I left the family to go back to my father, I decided to learn to sew. Tdh paid for my apprenticeship contract and supported me throughout my training. In September 2014, I successfully completed my apprenticeship and the Foundation paid for a sewing machine and other accessories so I could start a business. Today, I’m a qualified dressmaker and I have my own apprentice. I would like to thank Tdh for finding me a host family, supporting me and helping me make peace with my father.”