Over and over, as we visit with women in sub-Saharan Africa, they tell us that they need access to sewing machines. They see opportunities to earn income satisfying local demand for items like school uniforms, baby clothes, embroidered outfits, reusable sanitary pads, etc. (On average, a tailor earns over $200/month – a great improvement over the typical $1/day of the extreme poor.) Many women already know how to sew, having learned to sew from relatives or the local tailor, but many more want to learn.
To meet this need, Eliminate Poverty Now is establishing women’s sewing centers in rural African villages. These sewing centers serve as vocational schools where women can learn to sew under the guidance of master tailors, and also give women access to sewing machines they can use to earn income. At graduation, each woman has access to microcredit at reasonable rates to enable her to buy her own sewing machine.
Eliminate Poverty Now has partnered with Pencils For Kids to expand the number of sewing machines in their sewing center in the village of Libore, Niger (See Photos). We are working to support the existing sewing center at Little Rock Early Childhood Development Centre. The sewing center we established in the Millennium Village of Leona, in northwestern Senegal is earning income after only 3 months in operation (see slideshow below). And we are actively seeking out corporate partners for whom the sewing centers can produce textiles.
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