Locals help to sew skills of life in village
WHAT started out as just an idea has turned into a fantastic opportunity to help a small village in Myanmar to be more self-sufficient both economically and socially.
With the overall aim of the empowerment of women, this program was organised and funded by Bellingen Rotary and Partnership for Change/ Inle Speaks, a local NGO working around the Inle Lake area in Southern Shan State, Myanmar.
Working with the village monk, the headman and Inle Speaks, it was agreed that Rotary would provide the funds to purchase 20 non-powered sewing machines for the village ladies to commence learning how to sew.
Rotary club member Stuart Allardice said the initial training is to help them reach a skill level where they can make clothes and other items for their families.
"The next phase is to expand into creating items for sale at the local market and to foreign visitors when they come to the village," Stuart said.
"The third phase is to assist the ladies to form their own business.
"In addition to the sewing machines Rotary has funded additional training by a local seamstress to assist the ladies to reach a higher skill level.
"This means the ladies will be now be receiving two months of training.
A unique element of this project is that the ladies have agreed to pay back the cost of the machines, so at the end of 10 months the sewing machine is theirs.
The funds received will then be used to develop other projects in the area.
"Bellingen Rotary is very grateful all those involved in this project and the people of Bellingen and Urunga, Inle Speaks for their support and interest," Stuart said.
"It is hoped this small start in improving people's lives will continue to bear fruit for some time to come," he said.