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Women's Sewing Projects

Sewing is an important part of the lives of many Ni-van women, providing clothes for their families and a way to make additional income. HCDI promotes the development of women's sewing skills and cooperatives in Vanuatu. 


HCDI has 2 long-term sewing projects: one at the Port Vila Women's Correctional Centre (PVWCC), 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 project includes teaching sewing skills to others. 

In 2021, HCDI secured  a World Vision contract for the women in the PVWCC  correctional services to  sew 6000 Covid-19 preparedness bags. The project was very  successful and allowed each participant to receive a sewing  machine and a business toolkit upon release. The women also learned about project planning and management.                                                                           

Sewing classes continue in the PVWCC, and the women are able to support their families by selling their products at fairs, local shops, and other places. 

Sewing machine maintenance and repair is also part of the project. Many Ni-van families own or have access to a  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. A pilot workshop was offered in Blacksands, Efate by a repair expert from Tanna who at his advanced age, wanted to find a way to share his skills with the community. 

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