Changing Lives One Stitch at a Time

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Thanks to you, sewing classes are empowering women in Bhekulwandle!

Until recently, Ernestina would unlock the heavy padlock on the gated door to the sewing skills room each morning, enter the dimly-lit space and make her way around the old school room desks to pull back the curtains on the far wall. A bit of extra light from the three windows was essential for keeping track of needles and thread.

During chilly or rainy days, the ladies would close the door tightly against the wind, and place a space heater between them. The heater’s warmth seemed to seep away, down through the thin tile floor to the concrete below.

Despite these challenges, ten women faithfully attended Ernestina’s sewing classes last year. By year end, the ladies could produce a variety of clothing and beautiful household items such as jewelry bags, purses and placemats.

At the end of the year, with support from the Seed of Hope team, six of the graduates launched their own co-op – the Mtholi Manufacturing Women’s Club. The Mtholi ladies create their own patterns and sell their products within the Bhekulwandle community.

This year, another group of women is learning to sew, but the dim, chilly and cluttered training facility is a thing of the past! Thanks to generous donations from Amanzimtoti-based companies, our renovated sewing room boasts bright lighting, large sewing tables and beautiful countertops with plenty of storage shelving underneath. Laminate flooring was also installed which keeps the temperature comfortable on those gusty mornings!