Kristin Davis meets Fiona
Kristin met Fiona Taba, an 18-year-old woman who is a talented tailor and dreams of being a fashion designer. After arriving in Uganda as a refugee, Fiona received a small grant from UNHCR so that she could train to become a tailor. At the end of the training, she was given her own sewing machine and a small business loan. Fiona went to the markets and bought second-hand clothes that she repaired, modified and sold, but says that making new outfits and designing new clothes is more lucrative. Fiona has very funky blue and yellow hair, and loves colour, fashion and fabrics. She has a huge board of dress ideas and enjoys designing new styles for her customers. “I love bright colours and looking at fashion magazines to get ideas,” says Fiona.
Fiona overcame many hurdles to achieve her goal. When she was 15, her parents were killed in front of her. Her auntie found her and together they fled from South Sudan to Uganda. “We hid in bushes, ate grass and travelled to the border together. It took us a month to find safety.” Fiona and her aunt were eventually given a plot of land in the Nguara area thanks to the Ugandan government, which provides refugees with small pieces of land to build their houses and to plant crops. Refugees are also able to work and move freely in the country.
Fiona says she would love to go home but knows it is not safe and worries she has forgotten many things about South Sudan. In the future, she wants to build her business and would love to return to school to study fashion and design.