Justine Kaddu

artisanal skilling

My name is Justine Kaddu. I am a 60-year-old single mother and currently looking after three orphaned grandchildren. I am a seamstress, a job I have been doing ever since I was 16 years old. I make Kitenge shirts, skirts, dresses and so many other kitenge fashion products.

When I was a child, my parents owned a sewing machine. My father was a teacher but because my mother had never gone to school, she was a stay home mother who looked after her home, and participated in gardening and tailoring clothes so she could earn some money.

I grew to love the craft and always tried out mending my clothes. After I completed senior four, I asked my parents to enroll me in a tailoring institute and they took me to YWCA – Young Women’s Christian Association where I acquired a certificate in tailoring and design.

After that course, I worked for several industries but because of the little pay and long hours of work, I decided to quit being employed and established my own fashion business in my house. For over 20 years now, I have been working from my home.

I look after a family of three grandchildren who are orphaned. Through my tailoring business, I am able to provide for my children, I have built my house and I am able to live a decent life.

I joined the Waka creatives group to run away from several clients who have huge demands, and rarely respect the kind of job I do, pay very little, at times, these clients want to deliver in a short period of time yet want quality work and others take so long to pay when a job is done.

Every year, I pass on the tailoring skills to 5 young women who I teach from my home. If I keep getting bulky orders, I am confident that I will be able to help these young women also be sustainable in their skills and earn decent incomes.