This is how Moms, Grandmothers and other Coronado Community members can work together to give the gift of education to 200 girls in Lusaka, Zambia, by helping them to complete 6,000 days of school. “This will become a reality very soon, by January 25th, 2016 I hope!” said Coronado resident Jean Caron.
Jean, a Resurrection Lutheran Church member has partnered with “Sew Powerful”, a non-profit organization based in Seattle Washington, to bring their “Sew Powerful Purse Project” to Coronado. “Sew Powerful” is one of a few worldwide organizations that are supporting MHM, which, in the Relief & Development Industry, (aka, World Health Organization type people) is Menstruation Hygiene Management. MHM is rarely openly discussed; the goal is to provide appropriate feminine products, water, along with education and facilities, so these girls can manage their menstruation. It’s a staggering statistic that in East Africa, and other undeveloped countries, girls miss on average, six weeks of school each year because of their menstrual cycle. Jean stated that the “Gates Foundation” is looking at this topic and that in humanitarian emergencies UNICEF does provide hygiene packs. “But our focus is daily needs”, she said.
This is where the “Sew Powerful Purse Project” comes in. “Sew Powerful” has designed a pattern for an over the shoulder purse, which meets the MHM required specifics. These purses are hand sewn by volunteers in America (and around the world). The finished purses are carried to school by the girls to discreetly carry reusable feminine pads, along with soap and a few other specific items. “That’s the Project,” said Jean. So once these purses are sewn and packaged, they are then sent to the “Sew Powerful “location in Washington state were “World Vision” (another partner in this project) ships them to Lusaka. The reusable pads are sewn by local seamstress in Lusaka, were the purse contents are assembled. These purses are then given as gifts to girls in the community school, at Ngombe Compound, Lusaka, a school in a very poor community, where 70% are double orphans (meaning they have lost both parents) and most are under the age of 15.
“This project just knocked me over!” said Jean, “there are countless outreach programs out there, we are constantly asked to make financial donations to this cause or that, but what inspired me to get involved with “Sew Powerful” was that I could use my creativeness, my seamstress skills, making this purse knowing that a certain young girl in Zambia would put it on her shoulder and smile, feel a bit more empowered, and be back in school, for me, that’s being spiritually connected”.
In November, on Sunday the 15th Resurrection Lutheran Church will be having an information and sign up table in the courtyard at 1111 5th Street, during their annual “Ten Thousand Villages” Fall Festival Fair Trade Sale. Jean is asking that anyone who wants to be part of this project to stop by. She has suggested that our local girls may find this project of interest, also any Coronado group or individual who enjoys sewing.
She plans on having a weekly sewing class held at the church, for those who want to sew together, and those who want to learn to sew; this is a great project to learn some basics. Jean also stated she was asked “why make these purses in America when “Sew Powerful” supports seamstress in Zambia? Her answer “we have beautiful fabric, time and energy, plus, one of the greatest gifts anyone can give, their time”. The goal is to have 200 purses finished in time for the second “World Vision” shipment on February 1, 2016. Please contact, for further information, Jean Caron project coordinator with any questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Resurrection Lutheran Church at 619-435-1000.