What Will A Mother Do?
I'd like to share a story I've never told before...
My dad abandoned our family when I was nine. He left a note on the bed and never came back. It pretty much devastated our family. After that, it was just my mom, me, my two older brothers, and my older sister.
My mom moved us to her hometown (Yuba City, CA) and began looking for work. From the time I was nine until I moved out ten years later - I think she was more often in survival mode than anything else.
I watched my mom creatively make ends meet over the years. She trusted God, took us to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night ... and at least one night a week, we'd go up and visit with my grandparents and have dinner with them. We always left with a bag full of groceries my grandma called a "care package."
I vividly remember that several times a month, my mom would take me to Burger King. She'd order a Whopper Value meal, then we'd go over and sit down, and she'd pull out a meat thermometer and a little note pad, and record the temperature of the hamburger, jot down a few notes, then she'd let me eat it. She had signed up to be a food tester for them - and submit a little report for a few bucks a month - plus the free food. I was her "helper," but I also got to eat the burger and fries. I loved it, but I also knew she was doing it because she needed money & food.
What's My Point & How Does This Relate To Sew Powerful?
First, I had a good life, so don't feel bad for me; that's not the point of the story.
The point is - moms will do anything for their kids. My mom did. She made it work and always put her kids first. I grew up fed and loved. That's all a kid usually wants.
So, when I first met the moms in Lusaka in 2009 - and heard what they were trying to do - make jewelry and sell it - to raise money so they could have a nice school for their kids. I kind of saw my mom in them in a way. At least, I could relate to their struggle.
I had been part of a similar story before.
I looked at the kids running around that day - many of them were fatherless, and I could relate to their struggle.
I had been part of a similar story before.
A few weeks ago, when one of our new team members in Livingstone shared her testimony - how she worked in the back of the bar (as a prostitute) to feed her son - before joining our program, I started crying.
I thought - what will a mother do for her kids?
The answer is - anything. They'll do anything.
Last December, when our program director shared a video of the moms dancing around the workshop - because they all got a big Christmas bonus - I started crying. They were ecstatic. I was a mess.
When I see these moms joyful - I feel a special kind of satisfaction. I guess Isaiah had it right.
I thought This Was About Girls Getting Purses: If you're new to our program - and you heard it's about making a cute purse for a girl in need - welcome. You're right - it is about that. We hope to reach 24,000 girls this year.
But it's also about creating really good jobs for moms in Zambia. Jobs that will allow the moms there to feed their kids. Jobs that will allow them to be proud of what they do. Jobs that occur from 9-5, Monday through Friday, in a professional environment. Jobs that enable them to get their kids into school, to give back to their community - and to help make it a better place. Jobs that allow these moms to feel the pride of being YOUR co-workers, a dignified and enjoyable way to make a living.
How You Can Help: How many moms can we employ? That's up to you, to be honest. Our Livingstone program is up and running. We have ten team members there. In Lusaka, we have 63. If you'd like to help us hire more, you can give in three important ways.
Send Along $5 With Each Purse: Our program is designed so a purse can be filled with feminine hygiene supplies for $5. That covers the cost of the materials, and the seamstresses and soap makers pay. We don't make this a mandatory part of our program, but it's important you understand that's how we make it all work. You can give online here.
Give A Special One-Time Gift To Help Us Launch In Livingstone: We are still in need of the full start-up funding for our Livingstone location. We've raised a couple of thousand dollars, but we need $12,000 to meet our budget goal. If we received a larger gift, we'd buy our own building, which would allow us to reach dozens or even hundreds of moms. You can give a designated gift to Livingstone Launch here.
Become A Monthly Sponsor: Giving to our "Atelier Angels" (Workshop Angels) program is a simple way to give a monthly amount. This ongoing funding really helps us underwrite the program costs for things like facility, machines, Christmas bonuses, and beyond.
Thanks for reading more about our story - and our program. Together we really are Sew Powerful.