Sewing Together

  • Women & Gender
  • Youth
  • Kyrgyz Republic
This project is led by Meredith Breckner, a Volunteer from Missouri

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LGL-19-307-004  - 1
Meredith is working with her counterparts to provide sewing classes for local students.
The Talas Oblast region has a small farming community that, in the past, provided sewing classes at the local school. Recently, the women in the village have lost access to this important skill as the school’s sewing machines have been unuseable for years. The ability to sew is a valuable skill in the Talas Oblast region as it allows women to make and mend clothes, both for themselves and for other community members. In a small farming community, most money is invested in the land and little can be spared for new clothes every year. Everyone in the village needs their clothes tailored and with only a few seamstresses, the demand for more skilled seamstresses is ever present. The goal of this project is to reintroduce sewing as an economic skill by developing and implementing a three month training program for women to learn how to be a seamstress. Through this project, the skill of sewing will be transferred and taught to a new generation of women. Community members will provide machine transportation, a space for the training, a local seamstress to act as trainer, and all additional supplies needed. In Kyrgyzstan, there is a saying that “for a man, seventy skills is still too few to have”. This is doubly true for women in Kyrgyzstan. Being able to mend and sew clothes is a skill that teaches patience, creativity, self expression and provides a marketable job skill which women here can use to their advantage.The impact of this grant will not only help students and young women but will add a much needed skill to the village as a whole.

I have learned first hand that people in this small farming community are constantly mending and sewing clothing. However, few women in the village have the skill set to sew.It was brought to my attention that sewing was taught in previous years but has not been taught recently  due to a lack of machines.  

The idea of improving the school's home economics room to include functional sewing machines was brought forth to me by the home economics teacher, who is very interested in being able to reteach this skill to students and young women. In the past, sewing had been a core part of the home economics program but today, the curriculum no longer includes sewing, for the machines have become obsolete and have fallen into disrepair. 

This skill has not been able to be transferred from teacher to students.  In this community, sewing is a valuable skill that can be of great use to the young women for the rest of their lives and can be past down through generations. Many members of the community would like to see this skill taught to their daughters once again.  The home economics teacher will also teach this invaluable skill to young women in the community in a three month sewing training.  Upon the workshop’s completion, the trainees will be presented with a certificate of completion, which then can be used for future employment, if they so choose.  The community will provide the machine’s transportation, space for trainings, a seamstress to act as trainer, and all additional materials needed. The only thing the community needs to complete this project are the sewing machines.

In pricing for the machines, someone from the community went to a sewing machine store  and sent many photos of different machine options to the home economics department, school administration, and myself.  Sewing machines range from 8,000 to 20,000 som. We found a good beginner machine at 10,000 som that will be good for teaching students how to sew without having too many extras on the machines (which would be expensive to fix) as well as not being so inexpensive as to break quickly.

This project instills a skill within women that can never be taken away and can be transferred in the future.  Thus, the benefits of the project will continue for years.  The local school plans to keep sewing as part of their home economics curriculum for years to come by continuing to provide all of the needed supplies for sewing.

Community Contributions
Total Raised