Sewing Program - Mexico

Sewing Program Update March 2011

Sew, Sew, Sew!!!

The Sewing program has been running for a little over 2 years and we have some success stories to share with you.

The sewing instructor, Elvira, is teaching 9-11 ladies 4 days per week from 9-11:30 am. Not every-one makes it every day but there are usually 9 ladies each morning. Elvira is an excellent seamstress and very patient with newbies. She volunteers her time. However she hurt her ankle last week so there have been no classes this week. They plan to start again by the end of March.

 

Elvira demonstrating technique

Some products the students made!

 

 

Appliance covers made in Veronica's home

Clothes made in Juanita's home ---- Read on!

 

The Sewing Program is employing one of their graduates part-time in order to make enough products. This lady showed aptitude for sewing and her husband has been unable to find work so she is supporting the family

Veronica has a small business out of her house. She is an excellent seamstress. She sells clothing she makes as well as does mending and alterations. She is able to supplement the family income as her husband is only able to find work part-time. We went to visit her and she did not have products to show us because they were all sold. She showed us an outfit she had cut out and appliance covers she made for her kitchen.

  

Veronica does sewing & mending out of her home.

Veronica sells everything she makes. She did not have anything left to show us except material she cut out!

 Juanita has a sewing machine in her home & she sews for her family. She is provided with fabric from the sewing program and she is also sewing for the Mother’s Day sale that is planned. Teresa went to visit her and she showed us some clothing she sewed for her family. One item that was very impressive was a white fleece sweater. It looked like it had been made in a factory.  

 Juanita showing us her products and sewing machine  

Lisset has made clothes for her toddler and herself as well as household items such as pillowcases which she has sold to provide a small income.

Maria found work in a factory making pants. She was able to get the job because of her sewing experience.

Tessa moved to Juarez for work.

 

Lisbeth sews for her own family and has made household items such as pillowcases. She made a frog costume for her 5 year old son to be in the parade for school.

 

Lisbeth showing off what she made.

Other women have been sewing for their families and often make costumes for their children for holidays, carnivals and plays.

 

Another common thing sewn is school uniforms. Graduates of the program & volunteers sew uniforms for needy families. If children go to school without a uniform, they are sent home.

 

 Two families that received school uniforms for their children



So we are showing great progress and there is more to come once word gets around and the Sewing Program is better known.

The Sewing Program is in an area of high poverty.

A typical house a family lives in in this area

A family that has benefitted from the Sewing Program

 

Sewing Program: Set-up 2008

David Teresa and Denise (and Denise’s husband Greg) travelled to Mexico in July to continue setting up this sewing program. We have been partnering with Pastor Jorge (pronounced horhay) and Ana who run a charitable organization Brazos de Dios (Arm of God) in a poverty stricken area in Chihuahua Mexico. Ana is in charge of this program as she is an excellent seamstress and teacher with infinite patience and compassion.

Prior to our trip the sewing program was set up. Five sewing machines were purchased and drop in sessions were taught by Ana. These lessons were done in the soup kitchen (El Comedor) on the tables used to feed the children. The lessons had to fit around El Comedor’s schedule and had to be packed up after each session. Brazos de Dios received a call from the US for a donation of 3 truckloads of material. They now have enough material to last a few years. They built a storage room in El Comedor’s yard.

They also had ladies from Ana’s community sewing cloths for disadvantaged households. One of the things they sewed for destitute people was school uniforms. They distributed some of these uniforms when we feed the children at El Comedor.

There was a need for a permanent room for the sewing program. The storage room building could easily be extended to accommodate a new sewing room. We hired a local crew to construct the room. They did the brick work, electrical, roof, walls, windows, doors, and plastering the inside walls.

We learned more Spanish as we worked with them and stayed with Pastor Jorge and Ana. There is always a few funny stories because of learning a new language. The construction crew were amazing, enthusiastic and energetic. Everything is done the labour intensive way. Sorry guys, ... there are less power tools used in this project than in Canada.



 

WE cleaned up after the construction, sealed and painted the walls, built tables and set up the new sewing room. WE also painted the outside of El Comedor peach with red accents. Since Ana and the woman of the area love colourful walls we decided to surprise them and painted the room bright yellow and orange. We would not let them see the room until after the construction crew were finished. We drew a line in the dirt and said to everyone, (especially Ana) that they were not allowed to cross. NO PEEKING. There was a lot of joking about it and people pretending to look. Hugo (Jorge and Ana’s son) “accidentally “came in so we put him to work helping us with the tables. We had little helpers as well.



 

 

We finished the sewing room and set it up. At the ladies request we purchased an industrial strength serger. We also bought extra thread, scissors and other sewing supplies. We had a grand opening of the new sewing room before church on our last Sunday in Chihuahua. We showed Pastor Jorge and Ana first and then let everyone wander through. We set out cloths that Ana had made for demonstration and a large bolt of cloth. It looked spectacular when we were finished. Everyone was extremely pleased with the end result.



 

 

Brazos de Dios now has a beautiful, practical and functional room right next to the cloth storage room. This room will be utilized to assist woman living with the devastating effect of poverty. They will be able to clothe their families and learn a useful skill. They will also be able to sew items for sale in order to create an income.

 

This program is mainly for mother who have little or no education. Social programs are inadequate and there is a lack of employment opportunities in this area of Chihuahua Mexico. These women have no way to earn a living and provide for their children. This project is a very cost effective way to assist these women in helping themselves and allowing them the dignity we all deserve.



Gloria Dios = Glory to God (in Spanish)

“Together We Can Save The World”