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
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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Valdete with her 'Childhood Memories' embroidery
Valdete with her 'Childhood Memories' embroidery

As this is our first report, we’d like to fill you in a little more about the Eldorado Textile Project.

Carol, our coordinator in Eldorado, is a former art teacher, now a freelance textile teacher passionate about teaching textiles. She teaches one day a week for the Eldorado Textile Project; two of the most experienced women from the group act as facilitators on a second day.

Carol writes: 

‘The Eldorado Textile Project arose in 2017 with an initiative to teach sewing skills to women living in a peripheral region of Diadema, São Paulo. In the course of these past years, participants who arrived with little or no experience in the world of sewing have discovered their capabilities as craftswomen and have increasingly felt skilled enough to create their own pieces of work. The project currently serves 25 women who meet weekly to sew, embroider and become more self aware. The items they make are sold in shops and fairs in Brazil and overseas, contributing to the family income of each one of them’.

Though making a small income is important as a way of increasing the women’s self esteem and confidence, earning money is not the only aim of the project. It has also generated a supportive textile community and a safe space where the participants can practice new skills, exchange ideas, and express their creativity. In the winter months of July and August, they were encouraged by Carol to draw and embroider their memories of childhood, creating pieces that were not intended for sale. This resulted in several depictions of a happy childhood in rural settings that contrast poignantly with the densely populated makeshift housing of Eldorado.

After two and a half years, the women’s skills have considerably improved and they have expanded their products from embroidered cushions to patchwork bags and embroidered guest towels. In November and December, 2019, they took part for the first time in a local Christmas fair and in two Christmas fairs in São Paulo city, where they sold a substantial amount of their work and were given much encouragement and advice. This was an encouraging step towards the sustainability of the group.

We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported this project, which through a women’s textile group is helping to transform a marginalised community in Brazil. If you are considering making a further donation, we would like to point out that we are participating in the ‘Little by Little’ Campaign, whereby donations up to $50 made between 23rd and 27th March will be matched at 50%.

Carol, coordinator and teacher
Carol, coordinator and teacher
Fatima, a facilitator from the group
Fatima, a facilitator from the group
Christmas fair in Eldorado
Christmas fair in Eldorado
'Eldorado Textiles' at Christmas fair in Sao Paulo
'Eldorado Textiles' at Christmas fair in Sao Paulo
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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

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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