Many of us are lucky enough to use our second-hand sewing machine to support a hobby or even a job, but what if you needed sewing to rebuild a shattered life?
This week, we are focusing on the charitable project, the Sewing Sisters, a collective of 15 volunteers who are based in the Rwanda Community Camp in Qadiya, Iraq. The project was set up under the auspices of the Lotus Flower charity and The Kindly Collective, and it supports women by teaching them income generating skills such as sewing and tailoring.
The project works mainly with female Yazidis refugees who have fled from so-called Isis soldiers who view the ancient Kurdish minority as ‘devil worshippers’. According to The Kindly Collective, many of the Yazidi women have suffered through unimaginable atrocities – from brutality at the hands of the Daesh (including kidnap, rape and slavery). The Collective says it is not surprising that many survivors find it hard to cope after surviving. Many of them have also lost family members.
The region is under significant financial pressure, so the women are in dire need of alternative ways out of the poverty cycle. Sewing Sisters gives the most vulnerable women in the camp the skills and confidence to sew – creating school uniforms that Lotus Flower sells to local schools.
A second-hand sewing machine and sewing instructions can save lives and make a huge difference to displaced and vulnerable communities. Those who were taught to sew have also become trainers and instructors, passing on their skills to others in need.
One of the women to benefit from the project is 24-year-old Sindus, who was interviewed for a feature in Grazia magazine. She was pregnant when the Isis soldiers drove into her village in 2014. She and her husband fled, and she gave birth to her child while on the run, but after her husband went off to search for food, she hasn’t seen him since.
Sindus is qualified as a Sewing Sister trainer. The project, she says, has introduced her to new people and helped with her depression. If her husband ever does return, she says she can’t wait to show him her tailoring skills.
Although Sinjar was recaptured from Isis in 2015, ongoing political and military conflicts mean that the Yazidi people cannot yet return home. You can donate to the Sewing Sisters through The Kindly Collective.
Sewing4Everyone offers a wide variety of refurbished sewing machines for sale, including the second-hand sewing machine. We also offer vintage Singer sewing machines. Check out our range here.