In this photo, Fati sews a dress for me, while her niece Fati babysits her lastborn son, Abdoulkarim. This photo is meaningful to me in many ways. It portrays Fati, a strong, entrepreneurial woman that assumes the survival of her family (including her extended family). And her niece, Fati, attends school to gain a degree in info-technology, so that she too may support her two children.
I am also very proud of Fati as an accomplished seamstress. Seven years ago, she came to Denis and me asking if we might pay for her sewing school. With her baby Salim in tow, she attended school for three years despite criticism from her family.
They thought it was a waste of time. Today, she owns a boutique where she not only makes hand-made dresses, but where she also sells a plethora of goods. She has several students of her own that she trains, and she hopes they may one day gain unexpected opportunities from their sewing skills.
Today, Fati is no longer victim of a harsh fate. She is fashioning her destiny.
As an aside, world-famous fashion designer Alphadi, “the Magician of the Desert”, upon seeing me at an event wearing one of Fati’s gorgeous creations, commented that he should create a fashion line using her designs.
photo credit @debrajoykahn
I will continue writing about Fati at another time, given that I would like my next posts to be about my most recent travels to the Azawak of Niger.