At 47, Tsitsi is still happy, smiling and full of hope. Despite her lack of functional arms, she has not once resorted to begging on the streets. Having been born with two club hands, you’d have thought her purpose and future prospects were grim and rather murky. Far from it! Not only has she successfully managed to earn a living, but she has become an incredible inspiration and example for others, offering support to those with similar conditions- something to which her neighbours will testify.
Tsitsi doesn’t require her arms to carry out her profession. It is astounding to imagine that a tailor could manage without them. Indeed, a determined Tsitsi uses her feet and toes to work her sewing machine, adjust the thread and amazingly, she is even able to cut and measure fabric according to her clients’ exact specifications! Expertly cutting fabric into circles, triangles and zig zags is as easy as pie for her.
Fortunately, Tsitsi’s parents were able to send her to a special school for handicapped children, where she was able to master her impressive tailoring and weaving skills. From there, she was employed by a tailoring company for 20 years and eventually was able to set up her own workshop, which enables her to this very day to be completely self-sufficient.
Tsitsi not only earns her daily bread, but has become an inspirational figure and role model to her neighbours, whom she has greatly supported over the years. She has helped them to make a living as well by passing on her skills and teaching them how to weave using local materials, such as cotton. Under Tsitsi’s tutelage, they are now able to make different types of household mats. Although still at the start-up stage, their innovative business holds great potential provided that they are able to receive the funding necessary to increase their production.
If you would like to support Tsitsi and the work she does, you can get in touch with her on this number: +263 77 270 8428
By: Gilbert Rwamatwara
Edited by: Samantha Ker