Sewing opens doors for women

From left are Magrietha Bam, Masnoena Allie, Violet Herborn, Sandra Bartlett and Elizabeth Samuels.

A sewing programme in Lavender Hill is teaching women skills which they can use to improve their lives and future.

The initiative started when dressmaker Sandra Bartlett from Seawinds approached the New World Foundation (NWF) three years ago, wishing to share her skills with community members, to empower them.

It was a few months later when project manager Daniela Schlichter joined the NWF that they decided to create the project for the community.

The project started within a few months and the training has been running since September 2016.

A generous donation of six industrial machines were received through a linen store and other small factories, who believed in the initiative, donated material. NWF invested in domestic machines and other materials needed.

Hearing of the project, Elizabeth Samuels from Seawinds, a senior working at NWF at that time, offered to support the training.

The aim is to equip students with skills needed to apply for jobs in the sewing industry or start a business of their own.

The two facilitators have been dedicating their time voluntarily to the training participants every Saturday. Even after going into retirement, Ms Samuels decided to continue the training as a volunteer.

The students are motivated and the facilitators teach with passion, patience and enthusiasm. Some students have started selling their first items, while others have had job interviews.

Student Yolanda Matthews said she did not believe that she would be able to do the training but is now thankful to her facilitators for opening up doors for her.

Hilary Robertson was happy with what she had leant.

“I must say, I am very impressed with what we are learning in this group. I had a little experience of sewing, but I’ve learned even more and there is so much more to learn.

“This initiative is a very good one to help our community, in order for the people to become self-supportive.

“Here you can learn to make garments, you can either sell it or make it for yourself, helping you to save on buying expensive clothes in the shop. The fees to attend these classes are also very reasonable, which make it possible for the less fortunate to join in this learning experience.”

The training takes place on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at New World Foundation, Grindal Avenue, Lavender Hill.

The cost of the training is a once-off fee of R100 for a basic sewing kit as well as a monthly contribution fee of R20.

The NWF invites community members who are committed and interested in sewing, to join the training.

For more information you can call Daniela Schlichter on 021 701 1150.