Appeal for old tools to help African people made by Rotary Club of Thame

Rotary tools project - Susan with her sewing machine
Rotary tools project - Susan with her sewing machine

A tool collection is being held to help people in Africa find new skills and obtain work.

The Rotary Club of Thame is appealing to residents to check their sheds and lofts and take their old tools to a collection point at the Montesson Square car park, near the Market House, on Saturday, May 12, from 9am to 1pm.

Every year the club runs a collection point for unwanted tools which are taken to ‘Tools for Self Reliance’ (TFSR) collection centre in Southampton, a charity which refurbishes them and sends them to NGOs in Africa. The NGOs then distributes them free to men and women.

Items which can be collected include sewing machines, tools used for plumbing, carpentry, metalworking, building, bicycle repair, shoe repair, car repair. No garden tools are accepted.

All of the tools sent to Africa are used to provide training and equip trainees with their own start up kits to set up their own businesses after completing training not only in their chosen trade, but in business management, financial, and life skills.

One such trainee is Susan Anena, 32, who lives a few miles outside Kitgum Town, Uganda. Her primary education was disrupted by the civil war and she was abducted by rebels and kept captive for six years.

In 2017, Susan joined a Tools for Self Reliance project run in partnership with local organisation Green Ribbon Foundation of Uganda. Throughout the training Susan learned how to make outfits such as women’s and men’s clothing, alongside receiving business and life skills training. The counselling sessions she had helped her cope with the trauma she experienced during her abduction. She has now graduated and has learnt a practical skill that will help her become self reliant. Susan plans to set up her own tailoring business, using the tools she was equipped with when she graduated.

She said: “I want to be the best tailor in this sub county. After I fully acquire this skill, it will be mine forever. I want to give the community my very best.”

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