We started online in February 2008 as an eBay store. Then in March 2009 Jason visited one of the most desperate urban slums in Zambia - and met a group of moms that were trying to sell jewelry to support the school where their children attended. It was a desperate situation and we didn't know how, but we felt like we needed to be involved.
We decided to try and help them in any way we could - and when they proposed a sewing cooperative - we knew it was a match made in heaven. So a small sewing program was born. We funded it by doing "Liberty Jane Gives Back" auctions - and our community of friends and customers immediately began to get involved in support of the program. We didn't know it would happen at the time, but working with these moms has become our life's mission.
By 2010 we established our efforts as an official 501C3 Charitable organization we named Sew Powerful, (www.sewpowerful.org).
At Sew Powerful we combat extreme poverty through sewing. We are working hard to equip and train seamstresses in Lusaka as they serve their community. They do that by sewing what we call purposeful products for the orphans and children in need in their community. They are paid for their work and in that way have both a good job - and a way to make a difference in their community.
In 2014 we learned one of the reasons girls at the school are failing to pass the formal 7th-grade exit exam, and attend high school, is because of a lack of feminine hygiene supplies. Sadly, only 8% of girls in Zambia finish High School.
So the seamstresses in Zambia started making reusable hygiene pads - and we asked our customers and friends to begin making beautiful cross-body purses as gifts. The reusable hygiene pads (along with a few other items) go into the beautiful purses - and the purse is used as a gift during health class where the girls are given the education they need to manage their period. They even take a "Sew Powerful Pledge" to stay in school all month if they receive a purse.
In 2014 we received 503 purses and the program was an immediate success both with our friends and customers and with the seamstresses and girls in Zambia.
In 2015 we received 1,619 purses and we began to envision expanding the program to include other ministry locations in Zambia.
In 2016 we received 3,688 purses - and they arrived from Australia, India, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada, the U.S., and England. A worldwide movement has begun.
Our 2020 Vision - we believe by 2020 we can assist 10,000 girls (and women) in need by mobilizing seamstresses around the world and employing 20 seamstresses in Lusaka. Together we are - Sew Powerful.
Join Us By Making A Purse: You can download the Sew Powerful Purse pattern for free and make as many purses as you'd like. You'd love your help in this important mission.
Learn more, and get the free pattern at www.sewpowerful.org. Our priority mailing dates are February 1 and October 1, but we're happy to receive purses all year long. The mailing address and all the related details are on the Sew Powerful homepage.
We Are Sew Powerful Book: In 2016 we published a collection of stories associated with the Sew Powerful Purse and the founding of the charity. We'd love to have you buy a copy of the book via Amazon. All proceeds go to support Sew Powerful. If you enjoy it, be sure to leave your highest and best review on Amazon.
Thank you for allowing us to serve orphans and widows by your generous support for our work. Together we're making the world a better place.
Jason & Cinnamon Miles