We are very excited to see the sewing machines have arrived in Uganda and made it safely into Hope for Life’s project centre. In March 2013 we were kindly donated some singer sewing machines by Duncan Hill, who is based up north in the UK. He contacted Hope for Life after collecting some old singer sewing machines that needed some TLC, once he had managed to get them back into working order Duncan decided he wanted to give them a new home with a charity who would be able to use them to benefit a group of people. Duncan was kind enough to bring them to Bristol and teach our team of people how to use, maintain and fix the machines, so we can pass our knowledge onto the ladies in our Livelihoods project in Katanga.
Three of our good friends were going to go to Uganda in August 2013, to take on the roll of teaching the Ugandan ladies how to use, maintain and fix the machines. The machines went to their house for a few month so they could continue to practice their skills so they didn’t forget before getting to Uganda. We managed to book the sewing machines onto a flight to get them to Uganda. This is all Thanks to many people donating specially for this cause.
We also collected many donations of material, pins, tailors chalk, needle threaders, tape measures, cotton thread, sewing patterns and un-pickers. We ended up sending the sewing machines out with a fantastic variety of start up equipment to get them going on their sewing adventure. A huge Thank You goes out to everyone who donated equipment and money to send the machines, without you it couldn’t have happened.
The machines arrived in Uganda safely, after hours of carefully wrapping the parts so they wouldn’t get damaged if they were thrown, dumped and squashed through their trip to Uganda.
One of our Ugandan team, Francis, worked hard on getting the machines from the airport into the care of Hope for Life. Just as things were coming to a tight time schedule, the machines were released from the airport the day before Beth, Ellie and Laura where due to teach the ladies.
Beth, Ellie and Laura arrived meeting Francis and the machines which were still packaged. Their first job was to unpack the machines, which was harder that you would expect as we packed them so well.
As the children were on school holidays for 2 weeks the ladies were able to use the space where the children usually have their lessons. The new building, which we bought, is not renovated yet and has no furniture in but will be used for livelihoods projects like sewing. After the girls met the mums/careers of the children in our school, they set to work teaching the ladies the basics of the machines and how to use them.
The girls said they were surprised how quickly they picked it all up. First, sewing basic lines, then embroidering their names onto some material.
Then, make a bag with 2 handles on, and put their embroided names onto the bags they have just made. Not bad for total beginners to complete in 2 days.
They were measuring, chalking the outlines, pinning material together, cutting the material and sewing it together, which is all very impressive. As a few people were sharing each machine, they were all helping when someone got stuck, or both learning when Beth, Ellie or Laura came over to help.
The Ladies concentrated hard and put a lot of effort into learning, there is still more practice needed to neaten things up but they have some skills they will be able to further and try new things. The Ladies will get the opportunity to receive a loan from Hope for Life if they wish to start sewing as a business, they may work together or individually, making and/or fixing clothes and accessories for individuals, schools or companies. We will update you on how things go and what route they decided to take but for now we can be happy that these ladies now have hope that there is something for them to focus towards and dream about for their future.
You never know one day you could be putting a order in for an amazing top or bag they have made using these sewing machines.
Massive thanks to everyone who made this achievable and a special Thank you to Beth, Ellie and Laura for giving up their time to come to Hope for Life Katanga and for teaching these lovely Ladies.