Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil

by ASSOCIACAO DE APOIO A CRIANCA EM RISCO - ACER BRASIL
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Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Textile Skills for 40 Marginalized Women in Brazil
Our teacher Carol cuts out masks
Our teacher Carol cuts out masks

ACER was closed on March 14th and, owing to the severity of the pandemic, did not reopen until 3rd May. Since then, mask making has been in full swing and our women’s group, aided by the older teenagers, have to date made over 3,000 masks in both adult and children’s sizes for the ACER community. This has helped to keep ACER safely open and allowed vulnerable children to resume activities there, including rugby, futsal, capoeira and guitar. Receiving payment for their work is also an important way in which our textile groups can help to support their families during the pandemic. 

 The mask project brought the women’s and teenagers’ groups together for an important assignment that benefitted the ACER community as a whole. In June, some of the sports kids and their teachers visited the textile workspace, where the women showed them how the masks were made.

 The new activity of mask-making presented a challenge to the groups, as they needed to learn how to use new machines, work as a team, and set up a production process. A project such as this gives the participants an opportunity to develop, learn new skills and take on new roles. Some of the women and teenagers have also been taking courses organised at ACER in partnership with local quangos Senac and Sebrae in subjects such as garment making and repurposing and starting a small business.

 We are very grateful to a thoughtful and generous donor, a past volunteer at ACER, who made the mask-making enterprise possible.

Wearing a mask for sports at ACER
Wearing a mask for sports at ACER
Lucia tells the sports kids how the masks are made
Lucia tells the sports kids how the masks are made
Sports teacher and pupils with ACER made masks
Sports teacher and pupils with ACER made masks
More masks made by Eldorado Textiles at ACER
More masks made by Eldorado Textiles at ACER
Tie-dyeing t-shirts at a Sebrae class
Tie-dyeing t-shirts at a Sebrae class
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Bag made by Jacira for the Christmas sales
Bag made by Jacira for the Christmas sales

The women’s group had a busy lead up to Christmas and with ACER’s help sold their products online in both Brazil and Europe. Most of the women usually work as cleaners or domestics but have lost their jobs on account of the pandemic, so this was a welcome opportunity to augment their family income.

After the Christmas break, the group focused on making masks for the ACER community. They had been donated several large bags of fabric remnants from a local fabric supplier. These were mostly small pieces, good for patchwork and mask making. Their first task was to sort the remnants and separate those large enough and made of a suitable fabric for masks. Our teacher, Carol, developed a comfortable design with a front layer of colourful recycled fabric and a back layer of pure cotton, and the group is making them in both adult and children’s sizes. The daughters of two of the women and a 21-year-old, all of whom are also taking the new course in Textiles and Fashion, helped with the mask-making.

Suellen from the ACER team interviewed some of the women and found that because they have lost their usual employment, they are devoting more time to the textile project. Here are two of their responses to the question, ‘Are you working at the moment, and if so what are you doing?’

‘Marileide’s free time is dedicated to the project, she likes to be a part of it because she learns a lot, develops new ideas and improves her fashion skills and ideas, and in addition she can contribute to the family income and never wastes material as she can reuse remnants in a new way.’

‘Aline is now is taking part in the Textile Project and likes it very much as she learns new things, it’s a chance to leave the house, be distracted and laugh with colleagues. For her, it’s the ultimate therapy.’

São Paulo is now a red zone. The ACER community centre was closed on March 14, having followed the sanitary regulations relating to Covid 19 and with the authorisation of the municipal government having catered regularly for 355 children, young people and adults since it reopened on October 7, 2020. The plan is to reopen if possible on April 5.

Sorting donated fabric remnants
Sorting donated fabric remnants
Masks cut out and ready to sew
Masks cut out and ready to sew
Making masks
Making masks
Valdete models a mask
Valdete models a mask
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A selfie of Carol in the new workspace
A selfie of Carol in the new workspace

We are very excited that our new dedicated textile workspace at ACER Brasil is finally in use, and would like to take this opportunity to share our latest photos.

The women’s group was very happy to return to face-to face activities, despite the restrictions of mask wearing, social distancing, and rigorous cleaning procedures. In accordance with their policy to avoid waste and recycle where possible, their first task was to sort out some large bags of fabric remnants donated by a local textile supply company.

This week the women are cutting out masks for the children and young people from ACER’s community involved in sporting activities, ready to start sewing next week. They are also making up the items that they embroidered during the quarantine period at home for pre-Christmas sales and events, which will be held online. Some of them tried out the new machines, which include an overlocker and fabric cutting machine.

The new vocational course in textiles and fashion for local teenagers has also started with the full complement of seven students, all girls aged between 14 and 18, who will be meeting at ACER for three hours a week over two years. This course will also place emphasis on sustainable and ethical textile practice and will include, for example, the repair and recycling of garments as well as their design and production. All the new materials needed are currently being bought from local fabric and haberdashery shops in order to support the local economy under the current difficult circumstances. This new initiative has now been listed as a separate microproject, ‘A textile course for teenagers from São Paulo’

If you are considering making a donation, please keep in mind that $1,000,000 will be available in incentive funds on 1st December, ‘Giving Tuesday’, for 24 hours between 00:00 and 23:59 ET, - or 5.00 am on 1st December and 4.59 am on 2nd December, UK time.

Sorting bags of fabric remnants
Sorting bags of fabric remnants
Sorting fabric remnants
Sorting fabric remnants
Trying out a new machine
Trying out a new machine
New cleaning procedures
New cleaning procedures
Making up embroidered items
Making up embroidered items
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The Eldorado Textile Project continues to provide local women with a supportive community that has been a great help to them during the Coronavirus pandemic. They were very grateful that our teacher, Carol, managed to travel to ACER Brasil in August to distribute materials so that they could continue to embroider at home, and they posted photos of their new work on their WhatsApp group that demonstrate just how much their skills and creativity have developed over the past three years.

Our teacher and coordinator, Carol, writes:

'We never imagined experiencing a pandemic and going through such a long period of social isolation. During all this time, we managed to continue our freestyle embroidery work and the group remained virtually active, which was very important both for continuing to give our community social support and for helping to finance the project.

Soon we will be meeting face-to-face again, a moment which we’ve all been waiting for. Safety measures for the welfare of all the women and their families will be followed. I think that with the return of face-to-face activities, the women will come full of a desire to work and create, and that the project will grow from strength to strength.’

Thanks to a generous donation, we now have a new dedicated workspace with better ventilation and lighting and industrial standard equipment that can be used for both the women’s group and for a new vocational course in textiles for local young people. At the beginning of August, the executive team at ACER Brasil developed a full sanitary plan in accordance with both World Health Organisation and local State and Municipal guidelines so that we could safely restart activities. After much lobbying, ACER Brasil has now been given official authorisation to reopen, and the women are delighted to be returning next week. Their first job will be a commission, enabled by a donation from an ex-ACER volunteer, to make masks and sports bibs for ACER’s large sporting community of children and young people so that they are able to resume their sporting activities more safely.

Adriana working on her embroidery at home
Adriana working on her embroidery at home
Mere embroidering at home
Mere embroidering at home
A piece by Adriana
A piece by Adriana
A beautiful embroidery by Viviane
A beautiful embroidery by Viviane
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Maria Lucia with a sample of her embroidery
Maria Lucia with a sample of her embroidery

The community of Eldorado, with its overcrowded housing, overstretched public health services, and dependence on an informal economy, has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 24th, a period of quarantine was initiated in São Paulo State, which was recently extended to June 28th. 

Just before ACER was closed, our resourceful teacher, Carol, distributed materials to the women so that they could continue sewing at home. Since then she has been keeping in touch with them via their WhatsApp group and personal WhatsApp calls. We are currently looking at ways of getting more materials to them via the parcels of emergency food and cooking gas currently being delivered by ACER each month.

We asked the women how they are managing during quarantine. Viviane writes, ‘Right now I feel trapped, anxious, worn out from the routine of three children at home. And the embroidery helps to distract me. It calms me down a little.' Aline tells us, ‘I feel helpless because I can’t do much at home. I have two daughters, who are right here, so I have to look after them and help them with school work. Like this I can’t help financially. The handwork and embroidery helps me to relax in this chaos. I get anxious and depressed and the activities help to calm me and continue with the household tasks.’ Fátima writes simply, ‘Embroidery is my gift every day, a time I have for myself and which I love to do. Miss our classes.’

Now for the good news! Our vision for establishing a thriving textile community at the ACER community centre has recently been given a boost through a generous donation for industrial standard sewing equipment and better lighting and ventilation for the sewing room. This will enable an exciting new vocational course for young people from the community with a focus on ethical, sustainable fashion. If restrictions have sufficiently eased, the planned start date is 1st August, when schools normally reopen after the winter holidays.

The pandemic will have disastrous consequences for the local economy. For the past three years the Eldorado Textile Project has provided a creative outlet and an opportunity for women living in a marginalised area to earn a modest income. Your donations are keeping alive a supportive textile community and will give some local young people a chance to change their lives.

If you are considering making a donation, please note that there are two upcoming GlobalGiving Campaigns that give a percentage of matching funding: the July Bonus Day on 15th July for donations from $100 to $1000 and a ‘Little by Little’ Campaign in September for donations of up to $50. Thank you so much for your support during these difficult times!

Atenizia selecting fabric in the ACER sewing room
Atenizia selecting fabric in the ACER sewing room
Eliane with her selection for embroidery
Eliane with her selection for embroidery
Viviane with a tea towel for embroidering
Viviane with a tea towel for embroidering
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Organization Information

ASSOCIACAO DE APOIO A CRIANCA EM RISCO - ACER BRASIL

Location: DIADEMA, SP - Brazil
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @acerbrasil
Project Leader:
Rosemary Little
DIADEMA, SP Brazil
$13,921 raised of $16,000 goal
 
246 donations
$2,079 to go
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