Transforming lives through skill development: TSWINI's inspirational journey
Chisom Nwankwo, founder of The Skilled Women Initiative (TSWINI), began with a vision to empower Nigeria’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) through skills training. Evolving from hat-making to a diverse range of skills, TSWINI’s impact has reached over 1,200 beneficiaries in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda.
In the heart of Nigeria’s internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, Chisom Nwankwo founded The Skilled Women Initiative (TSWINI) with a vision to empower internally displaced individuals with the skills necessary for thriving and reintegrating into society.
What started as hat-making training has evolved into a powerhouse offering 15 skills, including solar panel installation, waste recycling, upcycling and fashion design. TSWINI’s growth has impacted the lives of over 1,200 beneficiaries (women, men, and youth) and established its presence in eight camps. The organisation has extended its reach to Ghana and Uganda, addressing the needs of teenage mothers and women facing gender-based violence—groups often overlooked.
TSWINI’s impact extends beyond skills training. It supplied equipment worth 40 million naira, enabling families to move out of camps. The organisation’s innovative Cash4Work centres, coupled with an impact fund designed for refugees and IDPs, showcased a holistic approach to empowerment.
Along TSWINI’s impactful journey, it collaborated with Impact Hub Lagos to deliver a programme empowering Nigeria’s internally displaced individuals with entrepreneurship skills and financial support to establish sustainable businesses. This strategic alliance resulted in the creation of an out-of-camp store, now used by programme beneficiaries as a shared workspace for producing goods they sell throughout Nigeria.
Looking forward, Chisom envisions TSWINI becoming Nigeria’s premier Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) provider, offering 30 skills, including AI and recycling. The organisation aims to train 1,000 women in digital skills within five years, fostering a cycle of empowerment where beneficiaries become trainers themselves.
Chisom’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple yet profound – start with what you have and don’t wait for full funding. TSWINI’s journey exemplifies the impact that can be made with limited resources.
At the core of TSWINI’s journey lies a tale of resilience, collaboration, and empowerment. As TSWINI continues its challenging mission, it invites others to join in creating a positive ripple effect in communities and beyond.
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