Independence thanks to BERNINA sewing machines

After a trip to Cameroon, young entrepreneur Anika Spörri did not want to sit idly by. In 2019, she founded the social project “the bride – your wedding dress for a good cause”. This is a bridal fashion boutique in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, where you can buy and rent wedding dresses. The opening of the store was made possible thanks to donations in kind and money from Switzerland. This has helped create valuable jobs and apprenticeships in the city of 2.5 million people.

“The Bride” exclusively trains young people with IDP status. IDP stands for internally displaced person. These are residents fleeing armed conflicts, violence and human rights violations within their own country. Project manager Anika Spörri’s goal is to use “the bride” to counteract the misery caused by high rates of unemployment and poverty. In addition, part of the profits are invested in projects of the “Full Gospel Mission in Cameroon”, which provides humanitarian aid to internally displaced people.

We would like to publish below a brief report from Anika Spörri that has reached us. These are the first three apprentices to successfully complete their three-year apprenticeship as tailors.


Independence thanks to BERNINA sewing machines

By: Anika Spörri, project manager

The project the bride aims to support young internally displaced Cameroonian women who cannot afford an apprenticeship or other professional studies. They train as seamstresses for three years and receive at the end of their training a small start-up capital and their own sewing machine, sponsored by BERNINA.

Honorine Yaoundé on the B 1230

Honorine Yaoundé on the B 1230

We recently celebrated our first three apprentices – they all successfully completed their three years of apprenticeship. The head of our support association and the general director of Bride Cameroon first went to Yaoundé then to Mbanga. The first graduation evening took place with graduate Honorine in Yaoundé.

Graduation ceremony for Honorine

Graduation ceremony for Honorine

The team was amazed at Honorine’s talent. She had sewn beautiful dresses especially for the celebration, which she wore proudly. Honorine expressed her gratitude for what she experienced during her apprenticeship. His coach gave a speech. She was an important and professional support for the apprentice. Coming from a poor background herself, she was motivated to help. Honorine’s family and friends were also present. A delicious meal was served. They expressed their gratitude to all the people and sponsors (= mentors of apprentices) involved.

Honorine and her trainer

Honorine and her trainer

For the second farewell party, the team traveled to Mbanga, where they said goodbye to Bibish and Irene. The beginning of their apprenticeship proved a little more difficult, with the trainer being reluctant to pass on her knowledge. So, after a year, a new training place was organized for the two women. The new teacher was able to train the apprentices optimally and they were able to learn and benefit a lot during this period. The families of the two women offered our team many treats and specialties as a thank you.

Graduation ceremony in Mbanga

Graduation ceremony in Mbanga

The three graduates received a diploma, a sewing machine sponsored by BERNINA and start-up capital. They can now embark on the adventure of self-employment with a well-filled backpack of knowledge and manual skills under their feet.

We would like to thank BERNINA for her generosity.


Dear Anika, we would like to thank you for your personal commitment and dedication.

At BERNINA, we are happy when our sewing machines contribute to a good cause.
The social project “the bride” could and can only be realized thanks to a lot of personal effort and support. Other supporters are always welcome! Do you want to help or even have a wedding dress that you would like to donate? So please contact [email protected] directly.

You can find more information about the project here:

www.lamariee.org

A short documentary about the social project was filmed for the TV show “Fenster zum Sonntag”. It is called “Creating learning with wedding dresses” and can be viewed in Swiss German on the following Youtube link:


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