Risala & Kaloka: Future Leather Masters from South Sudan

Source: https://www.actionafricahelp.org/designing-a-new-life/
By Levi Buyinza

Kaloka (27-years) is among 12 youth who graduated from a six-month leather craft production course offered by AAH Sudan at AjuongThok Refugee Camp; Pariang County, Unity state. Kaloka knows the skills he has acquired will enable him better his life.“The leather craft training has been resourceful. I have so much to look forward to. This training has opened a new chapter in my life and gives me an avenue to make some money,” says

“The leather craft training has been resourceful. I have so much to look forward to. This training has opened a new chapter in my life and gives me an avenue to make some money,” says Kaloka, adding that they were taught how to make a wide a variety of products such as bags, coin purses, wallets, belts and many other items.

Kaloka yearns for peace to return to his home area so that he can go back and set up a business there. But before then, he and his fellow young people want to set up a shop to sell their leather goods. “I know with the help of our shop, I will be able to save some money for my future. I know we will make it big in business and live good lives to help us develop our area when we get peace and go back in future”.

Risala Abdulahi Anjila, 26, also left Lumu Village in Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan in 2012. She came with her three siblings; a boy and two girls. Ms Anjila is one of the beneficiaries of the leather craft training. “As a lady, I feel privileged to be part of this leather craft training. People think such training is only for men, but I thank AAH for also helping women to get the skill. When I go back home, I want to set up a centre where I can produce, sell and train other women so that they can get money to also support their families.”

AAH South Sudan with funding from UNHCR conducted a six-month leather craft training in Ajuong Thok refugee camp; Pariang County – Unity state. The training which targeted youths from both the host community of Pariang County and the refugee community of Ajuong Thok refugee camp commenced in August 2014. The two-term course ended successfully with a colorful graduation ceremony on the 23rd May 2015 at Napata Primary School, Pariang County – Unity state.12 trainees out of 20 graduated at the ceremony that was graced UNHCR representatives, Jamjang Payam authorities, representatives from the host community, the refugee community, heads of NGOs and UN agencies in AjuongThok among others.

The training was aimed at equipping youths with knowledge and practical skills that could help them earn a living once they resumed to their homes; out of harm’s way. During the training, the trainees were taught how to produce leather articles and products out of synthetic leather materials. They acquired various skills including but not limited to; leather cutting, measuring, correct use of different tools, leather preparation, techniques of structural assembly for different leather articles, design, punching, lacing holes and hand stitching techniques amongst others.

At the end of the training, the trainees were able to produce various leather products and articles including key holders and key cases, coin purses, ladies and gent’s wallets,   passport covers, belts, bracelets, mobile cases amongst other which were exhibited at the graduation ceremony. The trainees were divided into groups and provided a startup kit and capital to also start their businesses.