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We are Sew Thankful with Jason and Cinnamon Miles


For Thanksgiving 2020, we catch up with Jason and Cinnamon Miles and find out what makes them thankful about this year. It turns out, there is a very long list of Sew Powerful accomplishments that bring gratitute to their hearts. As you prepare your turkey today, listen as Jason and Cinnamon recount a year full of amazing blessings. So, Happy Thanksgiving to our US listeners and to those of you elsewhere, please enjoy this recap of an amazing year.


Sew Powerful, purses, Babylock, Threads Magazine article about Sew Powerful, Quilts, Inc., Quality Sewing & Vac, sewing, Zambia, building, NEC Quilt Festival, Quilt Show in Atlanta, Quilt Show in Austin, UK, 3 Esthers Farm, banana crop


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.


Threads Magazine, Profiles in Sewing: Sew Powerful, Cinnamon and Jason Miles’ nonprofit offers a helping hand in Zambia. By Erica Redfern, Threads, Issue #210, Aug./Sept. 2020

Quality Sewing & Vac,


The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Host: Jan Cancila

Guest: Cinnamon Miles

Guest: Jason Miles


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:19

Happy Thanksgiving. Today we have the pleasure of speaking with the co-founders of Sew Powerful, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. We're so glad you could join us today. How are you?


Cinnamon Miles, Guest 00:32

We're great. Yeah, Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.


Jan 00:37

Yeah, this has been such a challenging and interesting year. But at the same time, there's so many Sew Powerful things that we have to be thankful for. There was an annual planning meeting recently. And I understand the participants helped develop a fairly long list of things that were really great accomplishments. What were some of the highlights from that list?


Jason Miles, Guest 00:37

Happy Thanksgiving.


Jason 01:02

Oh, it's hard to choose one. So, I guess we can just kind of take turns. I don't know if there's a single, amazing highlight. But just so many positive things that occurred even though the year was challenging and difficult. It's hard to believe that this year, we were actually at a couple big shows. It feels like we haven't done any big shows all year long. But in fact, we actually did do Austin and Seattle.


Cinnamon 01:27

Yeah, January and February. And then it just has been such a different year since then.


Jason 01:31

Yeah. But it was really a blast to be able to go to Austin. And that show was fantastic. And the Seattle show was great as well. At the Seattle show we did something that was really special, where the show hosts, it's Washington State, they asked us to do the hands-on sewing project, or one of them, like a charitable sewing area the whole time, the whole entire show. And they kept sending people over to make purses. And it was just a really, really nice time to see people, sit down, learn about the program, make their first purse, I thought that was a very special.


Cinnamon 02:08

Yeah, it is a great way to really connect with people on a different level than just conversations in the booth. So, you had extended periods of time. It also was great to get insight on somebody looking at the sewing pattern for the first time and trying to go through that and the ways in which we can make that better, easier to understand. So, it was fun. It was fun, too, because we saw a lot of younger people, people in there with some younger kids that were doing it, mothers and daughters, or one group was a mother, a daughter and a grandma all together. So that was kind of...


Jan 02:39

A multi-generational. How special was that?


Jason 02:42



Jan 02:43

Wow. And we also had a partial participation in Atlanta at the quilt show there before COVID actually hit sort of right in the middle of all of that.


Jason 02:54

Yeah, that was really the show that was sort of shut down what halfway or two thirds of the way through. And that really started the whole COVID lockdown phase for us.


Cinnamon 03:03

I think that one kicked off though the Sew Powerful purse parade idea. You know, it was that the one where they had the little sort of like fashion show style of purses while a charity was being talked about, which is a fun idea to see come together.


Jan 03:17

Yeah. And I'd really like to be able to see us do that at another show whenever we start having shows again.


Jason 03:24



Jan 03:25

Well, then we mentioned COVID. So, sort of recap what happened. You know, everything started shutting down. But Sew Powerful made an excellent pivot. What happened this year?


Jason 03:36

Yeah, you know, right when all the shows started to be canceled, because I think when we started the year, our goal was 15.


Cinnamon 03:42

It was a big goal.


Jason 03:43

Major shows, including Birmingham England, you know NEC there. We had been there in 2018?


Cinnamon 03:51



Jason 03:52



Cinnamon 03:52



Jason 03:53

And it was such a blast. And we were like, yes, we're gonna go back. But of course, COVID hit so yeah, the first thing that we thought was like, how do we replace the engagement with all of those people when we talked to thousands of people at every one of these big shows and invite them to make a purse? And so, we just brainstormed really quick and thought to ourselves, okay, how could we make something that's a virtual activity? And so we came up with the iSEWlation Challenge. Fun play on words. I think our son came up with the phrase.


Cinnamon 04:21

Yeah, yeah.


Jason 04:22

I sew S E W lation challenge. And we asked people to support the idea of making purses. And we were able to roll that out to a lot of the major manufacturers and large brands in the sewing industry, and basically asked them to support it. And it was really a funny situation because I think everybody was like, What do we do? The shows just got canceled. We don't really have a plan and then we came forward and said, Hey, would you sponsor our iSEWlation Challenge and and many, many sponsors stepped up in a big way and we just got fantastic support by the sewing industry for the iSEWlation Challenge. And that was really a huge blessing.


Jan 05:02

And part of that was the contest with prizes that the sponsors donated too, right?


Jason 05:07

Yeah, we really made a fun time out of it. And a lot of people had a great experience, got exposure to the Sew Powerful purse program. But then, of course, you know, the brands were positioned well, and they got their exposure as well. So it was a great time. And then good things came out of that as well.


Cinnamon 05:23

Yeah, it was great, I think like to connect with the different companies, manufacturers in a way that wasn't asking for money or any of that it was a win win on both sides. And it was relationship building for some of the larger companies, the Quilts, Inc, and Babylock, that sort of rolls into the article that Threads Magazine did for Sew Powerful that was awesome to see that come together. And the timing of it all, when we were first working with them, I think earlier in the year, and then as it kind of rolled out and came out in their magazine in July, in the midst of everything that was going on and so many people at that point, were just sewing. Sewing machines were sold out everywhere. People were sewing masks, and you know, everybody's kind of locked down at home. And it was a great opportunity, I think, to see how that all came together. And to be featured in Threads was a huge, huge thing. It's kind of surreal, I think, to see a magazine on the shelves for so long, and then just all of a sudden be like, "Hey, we're in that magazine", like how did this come together? So that was awesome.


Jason 06:24

And it was just a really, really nicely put together article. It was just very nice presentation of the program. It was terrific.


Jan 06:31

Well, and another article was written in the Quilts, Inc newsletter. We had started that process in October of 2019, when we met the communications director for the Quilt Festival in Houston. And so, even though we weren't there in person, we were maybe still in some way reaching out to our community. Well and I was sort of want to back up a little bit to the iSEWlation Challenge because there was another really fun part where we did videos, Meet a Pursemaker. I think that was a really fun way to get to know a lot of the people whose names you might see or who make comments or show their purses.


Jason 07:11

And of course, that really led to kicking off the whole idea of this podcast.


Jan 07:16

Well, that's true, too.


Jason 07:17



Cinnamon 07:17



Jason Miles 07:18

So the podcast came out of that idea. And it's been a really, really neat part of 2020 to have the podcast out there and launched and congratulations.


Cinnamon 07:29



Jan 07:30

Well, thank you.


Cinnamon 07:31



Jan 07:32

I'm very thankful for it. Well, on the Meet the Purse Maker, we had a video with Mary Alice Landau, who showed us how to put so many purses in one box.


Jason 07:42



Jan 07:42

And honestly, I think that was instrumental in people sending in a lot of purses, because they could do it more economically after they saw how Mary Alice had done it. And that was such a fun little video that she had put together for us.


Jason 07:55

I think that was the closest thing to a viral video we ever had.


Jan 07:57



Cinnamon 07:59

Yes, I think we noticed that now. We see that particular USPS, the long flat box, right, that you know, has the most packed in there. And people are really learning to pack them in and...


Jason 08:09



Cinnamon 08:10

Get them to us. Yeah, that's awesome.


Jan 08:12

Let's jump ahead to the summer where Cinnamon, you and Leslie Unruh had a very productive, interesting day. Tell us about that.


Cinnamon 08:22

Yeah, so that was called the Purse in a Day. We did a live sew-a-long. It lasted all day. But we did that broken apart into little chunks. And it was a lot of fun. I think we had a really good engagement with different people throughout the day, walk them through all the different parts of sewing that basic purse. And then also we're able to talk about the program. I think we had a lot of people there. That was the first time they were hearing about Sew Powerful and sort of how that video works. You know, when you're doing a Facebook Live, and if people are watching and it shared, they share to other people. And so it was a good engagement tool, I think and a fun, a fun way to kind of just add a little bit of life to the program that we can bring online instead of having that in person style.


Jason 09:06

Like a virtual retreat a day long.


Cinnamon 09:09

Yeah, yeah.


Jan 09:10

Well and just last week, I saw that video had come up to the top of the list again, because people were still watching it. So it's sort of evergreen. So one of the other programs that you came up with for engagement with our purse maker was to create a gift and assemble for our seamstresses in Zambia. What was that? And tell us about that?


Jason 09:34

Yeah, it was a really nice part of the activities this year. We called it a Quilt of Joy. And so if you're not familiar on the ground right now, in Lusaka, Zambia, we have a very exciting building project occurring. It's, it's almost done. I mean, we're just at the final stages of it. And it's a vocational training center. It's the new home of the sewing cooperative in Lusaka and so that building has just been a huge, huge miracle. And it's just coming together so nicely, you can see a lot of photos in the journey of it coming together on the website. And one of the things that we thought we could do was create a quilt that would be nicely displayed in the new sewing room, you want to talk a little bit about that?


Cinnamon 10:18

Yeah, and off the top of my head, I'm not going to remember the details of the measurements and all that but asking each person to create a quilt block, and then Sue and Leslie, you know, worked together to really kind of bring it all together in a way that just, it looks amazing. Oh, to have everybody do their own thing, their own color scheme. And everybody bring it together in a format with the binding that brings it all together. It's a pretty big quilt, a six by six blocks that make a big block. I think there's nine in a block.


Jason 10:48



Cinnamon 10:48

Or something like that. Yeah, as I'm trying to remember, I wish I had a picture in front of me. But yeah, it's amazing. And I think it's gonna add so much joy to the room for the ladies to see. Just it's colorful, it's beautiful. And it is just so personal. And I think it's a nice way to connect with them as they're sewing and knowing that the women here that are supporting their program and sewing all around the world, really just want to see success in that group and in that co-op.


Cinnamon 11:15

Yeah, and our hope was to take it in May, on the trip to Zambia, of course, that couldn't happen this year because of COVID. And so the Quilt of Joy is still ready to go. And honestly, it's good timing, because the building really wasn't done sufficiently in May to do like a grand opening or anything like that. But our upcoming trip this coming May is on the books; it's going to be scheduled, whether we can get there or not because of COVID restrictions, we'll find out. But our hope is to actually go and do a grand opening celebration and the Quilt of Joy would be presented, and it'll be a very nice part of the grand opening celebration in the new building.


Jan 11:53

Can you talk a little bit more about the building? Tell us was it a one story building two story building? Tell us all about it.


Jason 11:59

Yeah, we'd love to have you go and look at it on the website. We've gotten some very, very nice videos and photos. In fact, I just got a video this morning of everyone standing outside in front of the building singing with a bunch of girls who are purse recipients. So we'll have to have that video series.


Cinnamon Miles 12:13

It's amazing.


Jason 12:14

They just there was no space for new team members. And so this new building was an opportunity when a piece of land next to the school came up for sale. And so we purchased the land, and then began to plan for what could the building ideally be like, and it's basically an L-shaped building two stories tall. And the entire upstairs is this beautiful sewing center and offices and restrooms, that kind of thing. And then downstairs, there's vocational training rooms, and it's just it's laid out for a huge, huge blessing to the community. And they're calling the Skills Training Center. And it really is going to make a huge difference in the life of the community.


Jason Miles 12:14

The building is basically the primary location that we operate the sewing cooperative and sew cooperative that is a school. And it was really the moms of that school that we started working with. And they in essence took over the teachers' lounge and turned it into a sewing room. And so they've done that now for what's you know, since 2013. And so this new building was really huge opportunity because they were constrained in their space, and just couldn't add any more team members.


Cinnamon 13:27

It was packed.


Jason 13:27

And, and we've had donors step up in just amazing ways to make it possible. We started the project with just barely enough money to buy the property. It wasn't like we had the funds to do this. And it's just been incrementally accomplished as donors have stepped up. And it's just been a wonderful project this year. And it's close enough now that the flooring, the painting, the ceiling, everything's done in the building itself, just a few things like the solar panel system and things like that. And so, Esther and the ladies have been in there. And she said when they first went in to kind of really, you know, kind of acknowledge that it was ready to use, they just, they were just tears. And some of the ladies just even said, 'This Is Us?', like. 'This is us?'. They couldn't believe it. And so it's just been a huge, huge blessing to see it come together. Yeah.


Jan 13:58

And is the building fully funded?


Jason 14:22

You know, we're about $25,000 short as we record this, but by the time you hear it, it might be you can go to our website and see. We're gonna do a few final projects, the solar panel system, I mentioned solar batteries and all that. We're going to put pavers all the way around the building. So that mud is sort of kept at bay, and it has, you know, kind of a nice exterior courtyard vibe. Septic tank needs to continue to be kind of finished, but pretty much it's real close. We're about $25,000 in total, away from having it completely done. So yeah.


Jan 14:56

And if somebody wanted to contribute to the building fund, how would they do that?


Jason 15:00

Sure. Right on the website, there's a giving tab. And then there's a building fund. And if you go there and the building fund is still up, and there's buttons to give, we still need money. And after we don't need funds, I'll just remove the buttons. But we might just keep the program details there so people can see the photos and that kind of thing of the new building. Yeah.


Jan 15:19

Well, on that note, why don't we take a quick break and when we come back, we're going to talk about more of the 2020 highlights, and we'll rejoin Jason and Cinnamon so we'll be back in just a moment.


Jan 15:33

Have you gotten the second edition of the We are Sew Powerful book? This updated version of the original bestseller, 4.9 out of five stars, by the way, is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen, and the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget, when you place your order, if you use, and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.


Jan 16:36

Welcome back. We've been speaking to Jason and Cinnamon Miles on this special Thanksgiving episode of the Sew Powerful podcast. We've been talking about the 2020 highlights and all the things that we're so thankful for from Sew Powerful. We just talked about the building and where we are there. But there's so much more that we have to be thankful for. One of the things that happened this year, as a result of you both attending the NEC conference in 2019 was what has happened in the UK as a result. So can you expand on that a little bit?


Jason 17:16

Go ahead.


Cinnamon 17:16

Sure, yeah. Going to the UK, like we mentioned, was amazing. Awesome. And we went out there, and our UK coordinator, Sandy Simm, welcomed us and got us all oriented. It was great to connect with her. And really, it was good on both sides to encourage her in her role. And since then, it's taken off.


Cinnamon 17:33

The amount of different people, donors, purse makers that we had on the list this year when the box came in was amazing. The growth in that is amazing. I think it was just from them. Somewhere in the range of about 1200 purses that that came in the other day, it was just super awesome to see. It really was amazing to see just how much of an interest there is for sewing at that event. It was a big event and was a very energetic vibe. And it just made us realize how much opportunity there is all throughout the UK to really grow the program. So that's super exciting.


Jan 18:07

Do you remember how many purses we may have gotten from the UK previously? If we got 1200 this year? How does that compare to the past?


Jason 18:14

I think it's more than double.


Cinnamon 18:16

Yeah, I was thinking hundreds, but I don't know why I was thinking somewhere in the...


Jason 18:20

I think we got 400 last year.


Cinnamon 18:21

200 or 400? Yeah, I think it was a huge, huge amount of growth. Yeah, for sure.


Jan 18:27

That's amazing.


Jason 18:28

And the event itself, NEC, if you ever need a reason to go to England, the Birmingham NEC event is, if you've ever been to the Houston Quilt Show, I would say it's bigger, and more involved than the Houston Quilt Show, from my perspective. Now it could be wrong, but it just seemed as if and if you've been to Houston, you know, it's massive. But NEC is just fantastic show and people were so receptive. So open to it. We didn't know going whether this would really resonate or not like in the same way.


Jason 18:59

And the only disconnect we encountered was that in the UK, a purse is only referred to as like a coin purse. And really, it's a bag as well.


Cinnamon 19:09

A bag, yeah.


Jason 19:09

So we kept saying we'd like to make the Sew Powerful purse, and they'd realize we were Americans, and we were calling it the wrong thing from their perspective. But once they got the idea, man, their hearts opened. And they were just very encouraging. And it was a wonderful connection with many friends.


Jason 19:25

We had a wonderful booth volunteer that was there with us named Sandy Snowden, and she sadly passed away, just in this last month. I look back on that, I'm just so grateful that we got to meet her.


Cinnamon 19:37



Jason 19:38

And we got to make those connections. She's just a wonderful soul. And she had purses that she had completed that her husband actually sent to Sandy Simm, our coordinator and they got to us this year so so Sandy Snowden will always be near and dear to our heart because of her warm reception and the engagement we had there in England with her the first year.


Cinnamon 19:59

Yeah, sure.


Jan 20:00

Well, and so we're talking about quantities of purses. We did things a little bit differently this year. And you were able to do, I would say, an intermediate shipment to Zambia this year for the first time.


Jason 20:13

Yeah, obviously, this is so exciting. The program growth is just really, really neat. Now, if you're familiar with our program, we collect purses all year long, generally. And we would do a one year at the end of year shipment through World Vision container system to Zambia. Well, this year, we had so many purses coming in, by the summertime, we were like, man, we should just do a major shipment. So, we sent 9000 purses in the summer. And now we're on track to send another shipment. As we end the year we'll see how many purses we end up with. Our goal for 2020 was 20,020 purses. What Why wouldn't it be that, and we'll see whether we get there, how close we get. Of course, we can blame COVID if we don't get to our goal.


Cinnamon 20:55

Yes, it's convenient.


Jason 20:56

But we just have a landslide of boxes coming in. And we just had a great time doing the last Sew Powerful Live. That's the other project change that we did this year where we used to just do a big giant unboxing party and process all the purses, get them ready to ship. This year they were coming in so quickly, we realized we should just do frequent unboxing parties. And so, we're calling those Sew Powerful Lives. They've been really warmly received.


Cinnamon 21:23

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's great. It's a great way to connect, I think much more frequently. I show the boxes we can try to get through in 30 minutes, or sometimes it's going a little longer. But when we were doing that annual unboxing, it was getting to the point where, I think, it was a three-hour long event of trying to announced all these boxes, so this has been fun. It's a fun way to do it. We've talked about doing it maybe monthly or so right now. And you know, if we really pick up the pace, will it, will it be more frequently? But it's been great to just stay connected to the donors and be able to show the purses as they're coming in. I think on both sides, people really enjoy that.


Jan 22:03

Well, you know we had a November one priority date. Now, does that mean people can't send any more purses this year?


Jason 22:10

No. No, honestly, we're happy to take them all year long. You know, it's funny, we don't call it a deadline. We always say our priority mailing date. In fact, we'll take them any time of the year, we'll process them, and we'll get them shipped out. So, I know a lot of people like to have the priority mailing date, just as a reminder, really. But this year, like literally, as we record this, we're still taking purses towards our 2020 goal. We'll keep counting right up to the end of the year. And we'll see if we get close to that 20,020 purses goal. But now we're happy to receive them anytime in any quantity. Yeah.


Jan 22:48

You might have to have a live session at midnight on December 31.


Cinnamon 22:53

The final countdown.


Jan 22:55

That's right, instead of having the ball drop, it might be a purse drop. Another project that we had this year is related to the purses, and we did a special project for note cards. Can you talk a little bit about that?


Jason 23:10

Yeah, you know, one of the challenges with our model is, we've just we're very clear that every purse that goes to a girl in Zambia should have a nice note card from the purse maker ideally. But sometimes we have purse makers that just don't do that. They just they can't keep up with the note cards, or it's just not their thing. And so, we've always had this circumstance where we've had to have note cards supplementally made and included in purses that don't have a card. And so, this year, we thought what we should do is try to get more deliberate about using that as an opportunity to engage with people. And so, we've got a group that's working on sort of a note card engagement opportunity, I guess you could say. And it's really coming together in interesting ways. Just a couple weeks ago, we did an event at Microsoft. It was a virtual event, but it was in their October giving campaign. And they had Microsoft employees and their kids. So they were all on camera, all these, you know, kids or their parents and all, are Microsoft employees. And we challenged them to make note cards. And in the hour-long session, we talked to them all about the program, and they made note cards that will go into the purses. And we're really hoping that this next year, we can scale up that effort, find those crafters and scrapbookers and people who are passionate about making really nice cards and include them in the project more and more.


Cinnamon 24:29

Yeah, there is a huge world of scrapbooker paper crafters, and it's an opportunity to engage with people that maybe don't sew, but can create beautiful cards, and we can bring the two together and open up the opportunity for a larger audience of people that are participating in the program and blessing the girls, and it becomes sort of more of a collaboration. And we get beautiful, amazing cards, and we have beautiful, amazing purses, and the girls are really blessed.


Jan 24:57

I'm going to give a shout out to the three who worked on that which was led by Peggy Creighton. And then the other participant was Leslie Unruh. And then Samantha Fahy. So those three did an amazing job. And every week they're posting a new way to make just incredibly fun and beautiful note cards. So, it's, rather than just writing them, you can really sort of step up your game. But you talked about Microsoft, which is there locally in Seattle. But you also strengthened your relationship with another regional vendor there, Quality Vacuum and Sew. Is that the right name?


Jason 25:37

Quality Sew and Vac? Sure, yeah.


Jason 25:39

They've just been a fantastic partner. We've had a longtime relationship. Now, they were local to us here and began to learn more about the program. When we first needed high quality machines in large quantities, we stopped there and talked to them about what our needs on the ground were in Zambia. And they just went above and beyond to help us and really made it possible for us to have a good collection of high-quality machines that we shipped to Zambia. And then now we've done that a couple more times. This last time, they were all gifted. Babylock and Quality Sewing stepped up together and gave us a large number of machines that we were able to ship to Zambia, and really be a huge blessing to the sewing group there and really a central part of the production process. And it's just been a huge blessing. So, we're really honored to be able to partner with Babylock and Quality Sewing and Vac here locally, in the Seattle area. They're just huge blessings to us.


Jan 25:39



Jan 25:59

I'm glad we could give them a shout out. Now, you mentioned sending things to Zambia. Let's jump back over there. There is a farm there, and it's called the 3 Esthers Farm and how has that developed and what happened this year at the farm?


Jason 26:53

Sure. Yeah, the Three Esthers Farm is such a fun thing to work on. It is 10 acres, it's about 20 minutes away from the primary location that we work at. And the projects on the farm are all dedicated to just feeding the kids at the local school. And there's 1500 kids at that school. And so the goal is to get food production to the level that they're feeding them every day that they're at school from the farm. We're not there yet. We're still not there. But every season, we get closer and closer. And so you want to talk about the banana projects a little bit? And...


Cinnamon 27:28

Yeah, it was when we were there in May. So now it's a year and a half ago, and we worked on planting some of the trees. We did bananas and mangoes and papayas. And we've asked repeatedly, how are the bananas? Oh, because a few years prior to that we had gone and planted orange trees. And then right away heard that the goats had gone in and eaten all these orange trees. So, we were pretty bummed. Yeah, so we kept asking. And then just recently, Esther had sent some pictures of the little mini baby bananas that are starting to show up on those trees. So that's been fun to watch come together. They have the goats now quarantined into their own area. I'm kidding, not quarantined.


Cinnamon 28:07

Yeah, it's been great. I think the different pictures that we've gotten and the feedback that we've gotten about the cabbages. The cabbages, they're huge, and the tomatoes, and really, it's just kind of working through the seasonality of crops. One they have a lot at one time and just kind of trying to figure out the cycles and what grows well, and there's a huge learning curve. It's not just as simple as when we first were like, oh, this would be great. They'll be so easy. But feeding 1500 kids every day is a monumental project.


Jason 28:35

Tall order. But the banana orchard, and it is a large area of banana trees, is really exciting. They said it would be about two years for them to come into fruit. And that started now. And so, the production of bananas off that orchard will be really, really exciting to see. Yeah.


Jan 28:52

Well, this is going to make a great story in the next edition of the We are Sew Powerful book. But I want to wrap this up because you published the second edition this year too, right?


Jason 29:04

We did. Yeah, it came out. And we're really excited about it. It is just packed with the testimonials and stories from purse makers. I think that's really the highlight of the book. It tells the story of Sew Powerful from the first time we connected with the local group there in March 2009 through the various stages of growth. But the center of the book, and really the centerpiece of the book, is the stories of individual purse makers. I don't know if any stands out to you or your thoughts on it.


Cinnamon 29:34

Yeah, I just always remember the first time I even picked up the first version of the book and started reading those. And I hadn't really realized the impact we were making outside of Zambia until I started to see those stories come in, and we just continue to hear those stories. And now the tie in with the podcast where you can actually hear those people retell those stories with emotion is amazing. So we just have so much that's coming out of the program on both sides. And it's great to see it all captured in the book and just a shout out or an encouragement to anybody listening. If you have a story about why you do this, and you haven't shared that yet, or connect with us and let us know either in writing or be featured on the podcast in a way to share your story, because if it's meaningful to you, it encourages and motivates other people and speaks to them in a new and exciting way.


Jan 30:24

Well, that wraps up 2020 pretty much. Considering that we thought back in March that it was going to be a pretty dull year, it sounds like it didn't turn out that way.


Jason 30:35

Not at all. And it's just an opportunity, again, for us to say thank you to everyone who's making Sew Powerful purse program possible. And people are praying for the ministry. People are giving financial gifts. People are making purses. People are stepping up as volunteers. And we always use the phrase, it's cliche, but together, we are so powerful. And it really is actually not a cliche, it is actually the truth. None of this is possible if we don't all work together. And I just want to thank everybody again for their love and devotion to the girls and to the women there in Zambia and to the mission and purpose of Sew Powerful.


Cinnamon 31:14

Yeah, and I add a second all of that. It's an amazing blessing to see how many people have come together on both sides to really support Esther and the girls and the women in that community.


Jan 31:25

Thank you so much for your time today. I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our listeners. And we will talk to you soon. Bye.


Cinnamon 31:40



Jason 31:40



Jan 31:43

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at