Maria, a volunteer trains on the electric machines
Covid lockdowns were more than an inconvenience for many that we work with here in eSwatini. One project we champion was hit especially hard. We have worked with a group of women who live in an informal settlement in northern Lubombo for almost ten years now. A sewing project was started where the ladies in the group received training to be able to make products that could be sold in a local shop that catered to higher end patrons and tourists and was exported to the US and sold there.
Making the products, these women gained a sense of dignity and independence from the sometimes appalling circumstances of where they lived. The income gave them the ability to make choices about their lives and families they never could have otherwise.
Covid changed all that. Border closures, grounded flights, total lockdowns all contributed to a complete collapse of the markets they typically would have sold to. They are survivors though.
Since the beginning of this year, we’ve restarted the project as we anticipate a post-covid return to some type of normalcy. We’ve been able to add two electric machines for two ladies to use at our facility. So some work is still done on their hand crank machines, but finishing is done on the electric machines.
Ladies sewing using the handcrank machines
Sewing in Section 19, an informal settlement