We knew that a few women in the village are interested in stitching activities. We also knew that many women here already know how to operate sewing machine and have some basic understanding of stitching. We’ve figured that stitching activities could be a good way of earning money for local women as they know basics of stitching and are interested in doing it. This is how the stitching project began.
|Cecile and Mila with some women from the community|
The initial stage of the project is mainly about providing the interested women the opportunity to practice their stitching skills. For that we’ve organized a training facility in EduCARE office in Rait where we put two sewing machines as well as threads, fabric, as well as old clothes that are subject for recycling. We also agreed with a local tailor Kopina to pick up scrap fabric from her. That will be a chance for the women who don’t have a sewing machine to practice stitching and for us to see who is genuinely interested in starting stitching business. Apart from that, weekly meetings in our office could be a platform for the women to exchange skills and generally socialize. From our side, we will try to provide tutorials and design ideas for stitching products that are simple, marketable and, of course, eco-friendly.
There are a number of challenges that we faced at the initial stage of the project. First of all, we needed to disseminate information about the new opportunity. For that we employed several outreach technics from flyers and posters in Hindi to the word of mouth. Secondly, we do realize that tailoring market in the village and its surroundings is pretty saturated. Our solution to that is focus on the stitching products other than clothes, like bags, blankets, bed sheets, and others.
After talking to about ten women of different age several of them agreed to come to practice and share their skills. Eventually, on our first “stitching Tuesday” we met Joity and Radha who came to our office on Tuesday 4 pm – the day and time we’ve allocated for stitching self-practice. They actively participated in the discussion and seem to be very motivated to try new things in stitching. We showed different possible designs for patchwork and other simple yet marketable things they could produce, and both women agreed they are able not only make it but sell it in Rait and beyond. Let’s hope it will happen this way.
|Sample of a possible design|
Mila Pestun - Belarus
Microfinance project manager, Rait