Sewing machines in Kenya


HOVIC sewing class

I kicked myself when we were on the maternity ward in Kisumu.   As we walked out I spotted two ladies working away on sewing machines.  I was behind the rest of the group so trying to catch up and I desperately wanted to take photos of the ladies to show my lovely mum in law who is a keen seamstress.   There are, rightly, strict rules on taking pictures on these trips and prior approval is always sought and I was sure these ladies hadn’t been involved.  But as I walked away I was having an argument in head that said “Just ask them / you can’t ask them, walk away / don’t walk away, you will kick yourself tomorrow”.

Imagine my joy then when we got to HOVIC and saw a whole room of them.   One of the great things about HOVIC is that training is offered, along side counselling support, beds for the night, and food.  The boys are given an education and there is a girls tailoring room.   My heart leapt as I saw them all.


Lady Barrow has collected sewing machines before for a charity she knows that sends them off to Africa.  They are then reconditioned and given to people to start up their own businesses.  Recycling at it’s best.  Talking of cycling, they also send bicycles too.  Again they are reconditioned and passed on to people that need them.


But I loved the idea that one of these sewing machines might have come from England.  Maybe even from Cheshire in fact and where Lady B lives, near the lady who organises to ship them out.  Seeing them all was just one of those heart warming moments that really made me feel that change is happening in Africa.


This room is used to teach girls a skill that they can then put to good use to earn money, to empower them to get themselves and their families out of poverty.   Whilst also giving them a skill to be proud of.  To feel proud of themselves and proud of what they are achieving.

The girls are taught to cut patterns using paper and when they have mastered that they are allowed to then use them as patterns and to cut the material.


All thanks to the donation of funding from the UK to projects like HOVIC and of second hand sewing machines.

And ultimately that is something that we should all be proud about.

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