Sewing and Handicrafts Project

Coordinator: Lisa Nesser
Support staff/ volunteer: Seng Lao

To encourage our members to be creative and to learn new skills, sometimes generating alternative income streams for individuals or our organization.

Target Group
Any community member who wishes to be involved.

1 Tailoring Classes
People have donated cloth, buttons and other materials to our tailoring project. We have one automatic sewing machine and one manual one. We provide workshops to make clothes and other items. This provides our community members with an alternative livelihood, as they can make things to sell.

2 Creating for other projects
The students have created many things for selling and for other projects. This includes making mattresses out of foam and fabric for The Library Project, for the children’s nap times. We made Japanese belts which were sold in the USA, and all the proceeds went directly back into the school. And we’ve made coasters for Free Bird Café, to be used for the tables and to sell in the shop.

3 Shan Culture
As part of the Shan Culture Preservation Project, our students have created their own outfits for Shan New Year when time and skill permits. These beautiful clothes help to create a sense of pride in the Shan traditions.

Ongoing/Current needs
Our second hand sewing machines require regular maintenance and we do not always have the budget for that. It is also a challenge to regularly find people in the community to teach the skills that are needed. Having a volunteer or staff member whose responsibility it is to require and train volunteers and lead projects from brainstorming to finished product and marketing is needed.

We currently have no budget for this project, relying on donated fabrics and other materials, including second hand sewing machines.

Future Projects/Aspirations
We would love to create our own brand, a line of handicraft items, handmade by our students who are interested in learning the skills needed, with a small department creating our labels, packaging and marketing online.