Dear Fellow Rotarians & friends,
This week’s speakers are Ellyn Ito and Nina Moukova from the non-profit, Seeds to Sew.
Seeds to Sew improves the lives of women and girls in disadvantaged communities through education and job skills training. As with Isles, (last week’s program), Seeds to Sew is a non-profit that encourages self-reliance and autonomy.
The Seeds to Sew Mission Statement: “Our goal is for the women and girls in our programs to use learned job skills to make money and support themselves and their communities. We also provide training in the basics of business management such as cash management, opening/balancing/reconciling a bank account, and record keeping. We also educate participants about local laws and their basic rights, as well as the rights of their children, so that they can advocate for themselves and find support when needed as their income and stature in their community grows.”
Seeds to Sew offers three different programs to the people whom they serve:
1.) Enkiteng is their flagship program operating in two subsistence farming villages in Kenya, where local seamstresses teach participating women how to sew in order to produce Enkiteng Bags. These bags are re-usable cloth gift wrapping bags that are being used as travel bags, storage for jewelry, shoes and many other uses.
2.) Enkisoma means “education” in the Maasai language. Education is often seen as wasted on a girl in Maasai culture, as girls are considered more valuable for the cows they bring through a marriage-dowry, and for the work they do around the farm. Seeds to Sew educates participants about their basic human rights, so that they can advocate for themselves and find support when needed. Seeds to Sew builds the market in the US and facilitates the sale of beaded jewelry to fund school fees directly.
3.) Githomo is their newest program launched in 2015. A group of women in the Mount Kenya area skillfully turn harvested and hand-processed natural fibers into beautiful products called “Githomo crafts”. Seeds to Sew then sells the Githomo crafts on the US market, and the proceeds pay for school fees of girls who would otherwise never have a chance to go to school.
There are some great organizations who financially support those who are faced with disastrous situations. We need them to continue their good work. We also need empowering organizations such as Isles and Seeds to Sew who through their teachings provide hope, solutions and independence to those who need it the most.
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Desmond Tutu
Yours in Rotary,