June 17, 2013
Over the past week, I've had the opportunity to travel with Sangte, our global partner in Nepal, to visit six of the seven sewing centers that she has organized. With prayerful and financial support, Sangte has worked with local church leadership to establish programs that provide opportunities for women to participate in a seven-month sewing course.
As you can see by the pictures, these centers are mostly small, with four to six treadle machines and a small stool for each machine. There are no tables where the students can cut their material, so they use the floor as their work space.
Some are located near the busy city with noise of car horns echoing within the walls. Some are located in jungle-like settings where the road may be washed out if a strong rain comes. Landslides are also common in some of these areas and are an added danger for the participants. As you enter each center, you see a collection of flip flops/sandals at the door since the custom here not to wear shoes inside. This means there are bare feet everywhere, working hard on the treadles! The walls are decorated with women's dresses, Nepli pants, and children's outfits made by the students. There are open windows that will allow some breeze in, and occasionally there is a fan. Sometimes there is a water filter because the women walk a long way, and need drinking water available when they arrive. They do not have storage cabinets for their supplies, so most women carry their few items in a small plastic bag. Because it is costly to buy material for these students to practice on, they are encouraged to bring old clothing from home to repair or cut and turn into a new garment. They use small note pads, pencils, and rulers to create their patterns.
Though the women were a bit shy at first having a visitor, soon each place was filled with joyful noises of women chatting, laughing, encouraging and learning. These centers are filled with determined women that are excited for this opportunity to learn a skill, to gather together with other women, and to realize they can do something! These women have hope that they will be able to stick with the course for the entire seven months, and will have a skill that will enable them to stand stronger for their families and communities. Women at each center expressed their appreciation to Global Women for partnering with Sangte so they could have this opportunity! Please continue to pray for Sangte and the sewing centers in Nepal!