Monday, 7 May 2018

More updates

Susan, my contact in Kenya, is doing sterling work.
A recent email tells me about progress to date and reveals so much about her vision.
She writes:
 "The sewing ladies are doing well , I have assigned them to help in mentoring the two ladies (Munyazi and Naomi) on record keeping , saving the profits and setting the price of commodities depending on changes of goods in the market. They are now my role models.
I also told them to support each other i.e buy goods and services from each other as a way of promoting our group.

Mrs Bembaji is fairing on well, her boda boda business is doing well ,its income is ksh 2,000/= per week, she now has ksh 20,000/= in her bank account. She can now go to the bank alone and deposit money something that she had not done in her life, she feels empowered with knowledge and financially. her sons are now concentrating on studies and no longer go out to sell water as they used to do in the past to feed their families. they look clean ,healthy and well kept.

The sewing ladies are now looking for order to stitch clothes for people with family functions who want to dress in clothes that look similar .this has boosted them over the school holidays and it has also kept them busy."

There is so much to love in this.
The fact that the first group of ladies are now being used as "role models".
The initiative in using these ladies to mentor the newest business set-ups.
Susan's encouragement of all of these ladies to use each other for goods and services - another way of supporting each other.
The fact that she has enabled Mrs Bembaji (who set up the first boda boda business) to run her own finances, and that Susan can appreciate the change in Mrs Bembaji in being able to manage her own finances.
The fact that the sewing ladies are constantly looking for new business opportunities and doing so increasingly independently.

This is all so good.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Poverty to potential

The latest business to be set up belongs to the Mwambire family.

.They live in Barawa village in Utange and have 10 children. Mrs Mwambire is currently pregnant again. 


 Kache is 39 years old and  married to Erick  who is 48yrs old.  Kache is a house wife while Erick is a casual laborer. They have ten children"
Emmanuel is 21 yrs old and a casual laborer
Pendo is 19 and at secondary school.
Tom (17), Davis (14), Gabriel ((12) and Musa (9) are all at Utange Primary school.
Hussein (7), Mercy (5) and Katuma (4) are old enough to be at school but have never attended school.  
Polyne, who is one, is currently the youngest child.

When Susan asked the parents about a business idea .they suggested we buy for them a stone cutting machine for cutting stones at the quarry, a generatorand a starter stock of fuel.  All this will cost less than £500.
Susan has already arranged to meet Mrs. Mwambire on Monday at school together with the headteacher. because her situation is "pathetic".  Susan hopes that she and the head teacher will be able to advise her well. They want Hussein, Mercy and Katuma to join Utange primary next term. 
I have agreed to provide funding for the business and also to buy uniform and shoes for the younger children so that they can start school. 

This is how we change lives, on family at a time.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Star Wars bag

These bags with embroidered panels are always popular.  I love the slogan on this one.

Star Wars fans - get it quickly; it is a one off!

Monday, 30 April 2018

Reversible dog bandanas

Along with the baby bandanas shown in an earlier post, a new item at this year's sales will be dog bandanas.  These are, like the baby bandanas, lined with fun cottons and are reversible.  Unlike the baby bandanas they have no fastening - instead they cleverly slip over a dog's collar.  I have made them in four different sizes.  Here is Duke modelling the medium size.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Kennedy bag

This new design is my own adaptation of the Kennedy bag which can be downloaded for free from Sew Sweetness.
I had to adapt the pattern because few pairs of jeans provide enough fabric for the sides of the bag.  Instead of cutting it in one piece I therefore pieced it from four rectangles - which also allowed me to use pockets.  I omitted the straps - having cut them out, they just didn't look right - but loved the little corner features.  This is a sizeable messenger-style bag which I hope will sell well.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Munyazi's motorbike business

Another business which I was able to fund through the generous donation from Ickwell Fair visitors was for Munyazi and her family.
Munyazi and her husband Chonga have three children: Simon , Jacob and Furaha.  Chonga makes and sells baskets and mats to earn a small amount of money, while Munyazi works as a casual labourer when she can find work.


Susan asked me to consider helping Muyazi and her family to set up a boda boda business, as this had been so successful for the Bembaji family.  At the end of our Easter holidays I received these photos showing the motorcycle being handed over:




I love the change which is so evident in these ladies when they receive the tools to support their families.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Reversible baby bandanas

These baby bandanas (dribble bibs) are practical and smart.  I have previously lined them with fleece, but, having been given a wonderful selection of fat quarters, decided to make this latest set reversible with fun cotton backing.  I also made great use of a new tool I bought - a press and set of plastic poppers.  It made the process of adding fastenings so much easier - I wish I had bought one years ago"


Thursday, 26 April 2018

Swimming bag

The drawstring pocketed backpacks I make (the pattern is on my tutorials page) have been a longstanding favourite at sales.

This version is designed as a swimming bag as it is lined with plastic.  Wouldn't all those pockets be useful for hairbrushes, hair bands, goggles etc?

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Bucket tote

This is another new bag design.


The pattern can be found here. I have made several versions of this and was delighted at how easily it came together.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A business for Naomi

I received a very generous and unexpected donation through a family I had met at Ickwell May Day, which I was finally able to transfer out to Kenya during the Easter holidays.  Part of this money will be used to fund a business for Naomi.




 As you can see, Naomi and her family currently live in very basic conditions.  Naomi's husband works as a casual labourer when he can get work and they have four children.

At the end of the holidays I received photos of Naomi and her children being handed the goods to start her off with her new business.  She is going to set up a roadside kiosk selling household goods.