Single Womens Course (SWC)

COURSE BACKGROUND
In 1995, a six-month course specific to the needs of Young Single Women (YSWC), was introduced. The YSWC was borne after requests from parents, who had concerns about the welfare of their daughters in the village. The outmigration of young single women from the village was significantly higher than of young single men. This was partly the result of the lack of income earning opportunities for young women in the village compared to that of men and the income earning opportunities for women outside the village, particularly in the tourism sector. This imbalance in village demographics was reported to be creating serious social problems for village life.

In the YSWC, the participants are not trained in skills for employment in towns and tourism centres but are equipped with the skills and qualities to help them be financially independent, using the resources available to them and to manage the contradictions of living in rural communities.

The six-month training programme consisits of five weeks at the TRTC and five weeks back in their home village situation. The application of the oscillation principle, like all Tutu courses, enables the participants to practice at home their learnings from Tutu. The participants are empowered to discern their natural talents, which they are encouraged to utilise on an income-generating project. Participants are taught sewing, home furnishing, screen printing, baking, cooking and vegetable farming skills. The course has as its focus, human formation with an emphasis on autonomy. All the YSWC participants grow vegetables which they sell in the market. The proceeds from these sales go into their savings account. A common resolution of the young women is not to ask their parents for any money for the six-months of the course.

The young women are selected from different backgrounds but need to have spent at least three years in the village before they can be considered for selection. The time in the village allows the young women to reflect and re-evaluate their life in a village setting. This period has been observed as a period of low self-esteem and low morale. Selection for the YSWC, as with the Young Farmers Course is based on objective criteria based on planting in their home village. As with the Young Farmers, meeting this entry requirement demonstrates an aptitude to income generation in a village environment and access to land. Even prior to the actual selection of YSWC participants, considerable extension effort is devoted to identifying suitable income, generating projects that align a young woman’s talent with desire and realistic opportunities. Tutu staff report that success of the YSWC participants is very much predicated on getting the alignment between talent, desire and opportunity right.

The YSWC is offered less frequently than the other courses, a six-month course every four years, with the last course offered in 2019. While the demand for the YSWC exceeded the places available, it has relatively less than that for the YFC and FCC. The demand for the Young Women’s Course is often driven by the parents, rather than the young women themselves.