Sewing Lessons at the Mother’s Union

Wendy LeMarquand shares from her January Quarterly Report to Anglican Aid, Australia, which supports the Mother’s Union program in Gambella, Ethiopia, which addresses challenges of health, poverty, intertribal tension, and spirituality. At recent meetings, the women have learned vocational skills that they will teach to others upon returning to their home villages.

Sometimes you can just hear the thought. “Oh Yeah! Right! Like we can do THAT!”

Embarrassed smiles and eyes rolling to the ceiling, the Mothers’ Union Representatives didn’t need to say it – it was clear that the act of threading a needle was was going to be an impossibility. Louise had made it look easy, effortless, hopelessly unattainable!

“Now we are going to teach you how to thread a needle just like we learned to do it in our country,” I said.

The women were bemused as we handed out the coloured index cards, together with a thick piece of string and a blunt home-made “needle” (a wire with a loop through which they could easily thread the string). Embarrassment turned to incredulity as the women realised how easy it was to “thread” the needle in and out of the holes pre-punched into the two index cards that they could “sew” together to make a pocket-like holder to hang on the wall. Next we handed out large darning needles into whose large holes it was easy to thread normal thread. As real needles with progressively smaller holes were handed out and successfully threaded, incredulity turned to delight!

“Wow, we can REALLY do this!!!”

Again, the women didn’t need to say it aloud. The smiles said it all!

Learning skills that can potentially be used to generate income is one of the many ways women can be empowered to provide healthy and nurturing homes for their young children.

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