SI Hornsby in partnership with Afghan Women on the Move and Host International will provide migrant women in Sydney with skills in sewing, financial literacy and English language to increase economic independence and social contact within their own and other communities. This will help the women move from a ‘Survive to Thrive’. This project will run for 20 weeks and provide up to 30 women with new skills and a pathway to financial independence..
Update on Project
SI Hornsby’s project ‘Stitching Dreams – Connecting Communities” received a grant from the Federation Brilliant Futures Fund earlier this year. It was launched In February and began operating in early May. Members of SI Hornsby, in partnership with HOST International and Afghan Women on the Move, and with the help of 2 members of SI The Hills and several other volunteers, meet weekly in the Salvation Army hall in Blacktown, western Sydney, where more than twenty participants are registered.
There immigrant women from a numerous countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, India, Sudan, Indonesia and the Philippines) are taught machine sewing with a view to setting up businesses to sell their products, with talks on financial literacy and business skills, mental health and well-being. Club members with training in English as a Second Language (ESL) provide conversational English, and members with current Working with Children checks provide child minding for pre-schoolers. We also provide a delicious morning tea for the women and their children. We have occasional feed-back sessions with interpreters on what the women are gaining and what we could do better. Their enthusiasm for the project, for the friendships being forged and for what they are learning gives us great joy.
There is a group of fourteen volunteers who attend regularly in various roles. After 18 sessions so far, we calculate that hours spent at the project amount to over 440, not including travelling time, as well as the hours of sewing prep, Zoom meetings and admin work done at home.
We are most grateful for the grant, for fundraising activities and for cash donations which have enabled us to buy sewing machines, fabric and sewing requirements. We’re also very grateful for donations from numerous people of sewing machines, overlockers, fabrics etc.
We plan to end the formal sessions for the project in November, and are working on the participants consolidating their skills and passing them on to other immigrant women at regular meeting sessions. Thus, the project will continue in another form and become self-sustaining.