Sewing class days are some of the best days of the week for Make Welcome teachers and students. We find ourselves greeting each other with hugs and questions about our families and our weeks, what's been going on in our lives and what we're concerned about. There is so much sharing that happens when we gather and a whole lot of laughter.
Those of us who don't speak Burmese or Swahili or French or Ciin miss a lot as the laughter peals across the room. "What did she say? What are you laughing about? What's funny?" Our students may try to explain, but often the humor gets lost in translation. Ah well, we laugh along anyway, glad to be sharing a light moment with these friends whose lives have been full of heavy, hard struggle. The laughter in class is a gift!
Sewing days are also times when our students have the opportunity for uninterrupted concentration on a task that is sometimes quite challenging for them. Many of our Make Welcome women are mothers with small children at home and thanks to a dedicated group of childcare helpers, class time is the one time during the week when the women have a chance to sit and work, to learn something new, to practice and perfect a skill. We share many moments of triumph and accomplishment each week with our students. It may seem a small victory to accurately sew a casing seam in an apron, but it is a happy moment nonetheless.
LG working with Sara and concentrating intently on cutting out a pattern - a new skill for her.
Wah (below) working very hard to sew the curve on her apron strap casing.
Class days are often times of celebration like when a project, like the aprons Kyi and Wah are wearing, is completed. Each woman chose her fabrics from our large supply of donated fabric. They worked hard today finish this apron project, which was designed by our talented teacher/designer, Lisa. I was trying hard to get these two to smile. One thing we've noticed is that our students don't really smile for the camera, but looks like I got at least a little bit of a grin from Kyi and Wah!
We celebrate, too, when a goal is reached. This Wednesday three of our students had reached their attendance goal and brought in the required payment to cover the rest of the subsidized cost of their new sewing machines! We love being able to give women their new machines - machines that have been earned through regular class attendance and a final cash payment on their part.
We'll be telling you more in the weeks ahead about how you can contribute to our Sewing Machine Sponsorship Program. We are eager to raise additional funds to continue this program with our current students and with the new students we anticipate in the months to come. We'll have more details soon for those of you who may be interested in being a part of this great program![. . .]
Today we give thanks and say a BIG thank you to our donors. In the three years that we've been offering sewing classes to refugee women, we have been the grateful recipients of a number of monetary gifts. Out of the generosity of their hearts, our donors have blessed the women and the work of Make Welcome with generous financial gifts.
When we began the Sewing Machine Sponsorship program, we solicited donations through a rally.org fundraiser. Many friends of Make Welcome donated to the fund, enabling us to supplement to underwrite the cost of sewing machines for many of our students.
In addition, in these past three years, a number of people have given unsolicited and very much appreciated financial gifts for us to use in whatever way we need. We have purchased sewing machines for use in class, as well as other supplies and tools.
Our supporters have also contributed to the work of Make Welcome by purchasing desired supplies from our amazon wish lists. We have lists for both the sewing program and the childcare program. We are so grateful to the folks who have helped to supply our programs by purchasing directly from these wishlists.
We wouldn't be where we are today without from the generosity of so many! We are grateful for you and for your generosity and we say THANK YOU so much for you part in supporting the work of Make Welcome!
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