The Story behind the Sewing Hope Film

Sewing Hope, a documentary film, tells the story of an initiative, brought to life by Sister Rosemary and Rachelle Whitten, which focused on helping women and children in the aftermath of the war in Uganda.  The goal was to empower them by teaching them various usable skills, empowering them to earn a living on their own and work towards self-sufficiency.  It serves as a method of providing jobs to those who need them, while giving them a chance to live their lives with dignity and respect.

The Story behind the Sewing Hope Film

How the Program Started

After the war against the Lord’s Resistance Army, headed by Joseph Kony, was over, many women and children who had previously been abducted, were able to return home.  In order to help promote healing within the nation, Sister Rosemary, who oversees the Saint Monica’s Vocational School, worked to provide the kind of education and resources that would be valuable to the students in attendance.

A course on tailoring was introduced as a way for students who were struggling with traditional classroom learning to obtain usable skills that could help them support themselves and create their own source of income.  The class was opened to all women and girls who had previously been held captive, resulting in hundreds of students coming to take the courses.

Sister Rosemary hopes to be able to expand the program throughout Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, in hopes of creating a brighter future for those who she is able to reach.

What They Produce

Students often produce items that help support the function of the program and the school as a whole.  For example, one of the key types of pieces created by Sewing Hope is a variety of handbags that use pop tabs in the design.  Not only does this help them reuse and recycle certain materials that may otherwise be thrown away, it also helps provide a level of strength and structure to the pieces.  Other pieces being created include accessories, such as necklaces and bracelets, as well as certain clothing pieces

The pieces created to support the program all focus on using recycled materials.  This is not only seen as helpful to the environment, but it can also be a more cost effective approach for women and girls who cannot invest in more expensive materials.  In this way, skills can be learned through practical experience while limiting outgoing funds and maximizing incoming revenue to keep the program running. Additional funds are raised through more traditional fundraising mechanism.

Once a person completes the program, they can move on to other opportunities.  Some may choose to work for others, producing items for sale within the local area stores.  Others may choose to work for themselves, either by opening stores or working on projects from home.

If You Want to Try Sewing Yourself

Learning to sew can sound like a difficult feat, but most people can learn the necessary techniques to create certain items.  If you have never used a sewing machine before, consider one labeled as a beginners sewing machine.  They will provide all of the basic functions necessary to create simple projects without the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the options.  As your skills develop, consider investing in a more advanced machine.

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