Friday, June 26, 2009

Even simple sewing machines can empower Tanzanian women

There is a stat cited in the following story that blows me away, I will have to look into it to see if it's correct. Is it true that AIDS orphans make up 85% of Tanzania's population?

At any rate, we found out about a great mission operated by a Wisconsin nun. Sister Stella Storch visits Tanzania and gives sewing skills and tools to the young female orphans there.

From The Fond du Lac Reporter, we read this interview with the Sister.

Sister Stella Storch, coordinator of peace, justice and ecology for the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes, recently returned from Tanzania, East Africa. Each year, after this annual visit, she comes back to share the story of "Empowering Women's Future: the AIDS Orphan Sewing Project."

Storch said AIDS orphans, who live on less than $1 per person a day, make up 85 percent of the country's population

Many of the girls who come to the sewing project walk one to two hours each way, and one girl walks three hours. The girls, most of whom are 15 to 20 years old, are willing to do this for three years in order to learn the basics of sewing, and, ultimately, to become tailors, Storch said.

Upon graduation, they are given a sewing machine so they are fully independent. The first three graduates staff a store in town that sells their dresses and nightgowns. Occasionally, they receive a contract from the government to sew uniforms for children going to school.

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