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Project South Africa – The Story Continues…


As part of the International Fashion Fusion project Fashion Enter met with Project Gateway to discuss a possible exchange programme. 

Project Gateway was established in 1992 as a social outreach of the churches in Pietermaritzburg and Fashion Enter first met with the General Manager Di Milford on a trade mission to South Africa back in 2008. Project Gateway aims to reach out to meet the needs of the poor and empower the disadvantaged and in 2008 the Gateway School of Fashion opened in association with UK designer Karen Millen OBE, the University of Creative Arts and HOPE HIV. 

Through training and developing students in the creative and practical skills of fashion design, as well as life skills and basic computer literacy, the project aims to empower young people affected by HIV/AIDS to build sustainable lives for themselves and their families.

One major success story from the Gateway School of Fashion is from a student called Prudence. When Prudence started at the School, she lived with her mother – a single parent who works as a domestic worker.  There are 4 other children in the household and Prudence is the oldest.  All 5 family members stay in a one roomed “low cost” housing development house which is an extremely crowded environment. 

Prudence was part of the pilot year of the Fashion School. She was selected to be one of the first students due to her creative ability, potential and talent. At the end of 2008, Prudence was selected by Karen Millen and Sheelagh Wright (UCA) as the top student. She won a scholarship to the Design School of Southern Africa, based in Pretoria, and is now studying for a B.A. in Fashion Design!

Prudence stays in digs in Pretoria and has obtained a bursary to cover travel and living expenses. At the end of her 3 year course, she has a number of options, including the possibility of returning to Project Gateway to work in the Fashion School. Prudence’s dream is to travel to England and study for a post graduate degree in Fashion, having her creations showcased at London Fashion Week!

What an amazing rags to potential riches story of a girl from a one room home in a township in South Africa. 

After meeting with Di Milford again here in the UK we were able to update Di with our recent trip to South Africa and the International Fashion Fusion project. Di was joined by Jabulani Mnailwane, CEO Project Gateway and Reg Witchard, UK Manager and Chairman and we are now in talks about setting up an exchange programme with Haringey Council which is all part of the International Fashion Fusion project. 

Watch this space!

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