Sewing School Graduation: “My life has already changed!”
The widows are celebrating their graduation from sewing classes.
It’s not a typical graduation. Instead of caps and gowns, there are brightly-patterned capulana dresses. Instead of fresh-faced youth, there are elderly Mozambican ladies. But the thrill of accomplishment is the same.
Uncertain about being in front of a crowd, the ladies are reserved at first. But then Maria grabs the microphone, gives a short testimony, and smilingly displays the beautiful blue and yellow printed dress made during the course of the classes. One by one, the other ladies follow suit, and soon they’re grinning and posing to show off their new clothes.
“I will be able to have some money to buy bamboo to make a house to live in and have a place to sleep.”
These women have sold about 700 items to date
While there were 7 ladies in this first term, we are opening enrollment to 20 more for the second term.
Through training up more teachers and opening up daughter schools, we hope to double our impact next year.
We plan to open up an online store to export their products by January 2017.
“I didn’t believe I could be found in the church, no one could know that I exist or am I here on earth. But Jesus was able to help me. What I can see is that this sewing work brought change to me…When we sell something, we can buy school supplies for our children. We can have money to meet the needs in our houses.”
When Jon and Carla arrived in Mozambique with the calling to teach and equip Mozambicans, Carla would have never guessed that her sewing hobby would help transform the lives of some of Beira’s poorest women.
A wonderful couple named Nora and Gabriel Mabunda are the leaders of the church’s compassion ministries, which looks after the needs of orphans and widows in the church. At one meeting they put out a call for support. An ever-increasing number of widows were coming to the church in search of food, clothes, school supplies, and other basic items, and the limited amount of finances for the compassion ministry meant that the church was forced to turn many people away. When Carla heard that, she thought, what if there’s a way to enable some of these widows to support themselves? She approached Nora with some of her ideas…and the sewing classes were born.
“I’ll have the chance to buy my daily bread.”
“My life has already changed!”
L-R BACK ROW: Carla, Nora, Isabel, Maria, Luísa Number One (another compassion leader), Stella, Rainha FRONT: Ana, Gisella (fellow teacher).
BOTTOM LEFT: Gisella, a fellow Christian & seamstress who has taught the ladies about tailoring clothes. RIGHT: Nora Mabunda, leads a compassion ministry.
Nora, Carla, and Maria have already begun the process of selecting the next group of sewing students. Maria will take on a larger share of the teaching process under Carla’s guidance, and together they will train up other teachers who will be able to expand and replicate their methods.
For local sales, we have started a partnership with a local capulana fabric supplier; he agreed to sell our items as long as we use his capulanas. Additionally, Carla rented a table at a local fair, and was excited by the amount of products she sold. If we ever exhaust the local markets we will turn to more exports, but for the time being we have enough requests to keep us busy!
The current group of graduates will continue meeting together to sew, at least until all of them have the resources to buy their own machines. Even then, they will have guaranteed work through the commissions we receive.
“I know that I will have a better life from now on!”
- That the lives of these 7 widows have been transformed
- That the business of selling their work has gone better than planned
- That we would be able to expand the program and impact more widows
- That these ladies would not just rise out of physical poverty, but spiritual and emotional poverty as well. That they will truly have their dignity and ability to hope and dream restored