Women's Sewing Projects
Sewing is an important part of the lives of many Ni-van women - it allows them to clothe their families and also provides a way to make additional income. Long term, HCDI wants to promote the development of women's sewing cooperatives in Vanuatu.
Currently, HCDI runs 2 long-term sewing projects: one at the Port Vila Women's Correctional Facility, and the other in Prima, a rural community in Efate. In Phase 1, HCDI provides skilled sewing teachers, sewing toolkits, fabric, and sewing machines on loan. In Phase 2, women begin to sell their products, and receive training on product design, bookkeeping and project management, putting funds back into their group to buy additional fabric and supplies. In Phase 3, the women save money to buy their own sewing machines and support their individual or group sewing business. A key part of the projects also includes teaching sewing skills to others.
In 2021, HCDI secured a World Vision contract for
the women in the correctional services to sew 6000
Covid-19 preparedness bags. The project was highly
successful and allowed each of them to receive
their own personal sewing machine, along with
a business toolkit to be received upon release.
HCDI has also applied for and was provisionally
approved for a 2021 grant to support backyard
gardening in both the men’s and women’s
Sewing machine maintenance and repair is another key part of the project. Many Ni-van families own or have access to at least one manual or electric sewing machine, but lack the skills for proper maintenance and basic repair. Most islands do not have sewing machine repair shops or if they do, the cost of repair can be 20-25 % of the cost of a new machine. HCDI aims to teach local women's groups how to properly use, maintain and repair their sewing machines. Our pilot workshop was offered in Blacksands, Efate by a repair expert from Tanna who at his advanced age, wants to find a way to share his skills with the community.