How a Sewing Center Enterprise Builds Girl Leaders

11-year-old Christine (not her real name) takes great pride in being able to create wallets, bags, and dresses all by herself. “I am very happy and thrilled because I can already tell my mother and my aunt that I can sew these accessories,” she said.

The girls work hard to learn sewing skills

Through funding and support from kind donors, Tahanan Sta. Luisa is able to run a sewing center social enterprise. The program aims to train the girls to create quality machine-sewn and hand-sewn items that will develop their sewing skills and creative talents, teach them a good work ethic, and enable them to earn income while learning.

It takes a community to build the next generation of girl leaders, and many stepped up to help our girls gain the strength and confidence they need to lead productive lives. A fully functional sewing center was built. A skilled sewing teacher taught the girls to use industrial sewing machines and edging machines with safety precautions. Soon, the girls were sewing simple tote bags, coin purses, pouches, pot holders, headbands, table doilies, and pillow covers.

Girls show their hand-painted canvas bags

Visitors and volunteers who came to the center bought the items. Volunteer artist groups came around to give lessons on how to paint on fabric or to decorate with beads and buttons. The girls had loads of fun painting and decorating their bags. Donor partners also gave Tahanan opportunities to showcase the girls’ products during their events.

More than a social enterprise, the project is a personal development channel for the resident girls of Tahanan. It is a significant contributor to their overall education and healing. The program helps girls battle trauma from abuse. Through skills training, girls become self- sufficient individuals inside and outside the shelter. They found the importance of treasuring their own skills and improving them.