India (MNN) — This story is for any woman whose mother taught her to sew. It’s also a story for anyone who desires to make a change in our world– to shed some light in the darkness.
Imagine being a woman in India with three young children. You’ve lost your husband, you were unable to finish school, and you can’t get a job that allows you to take care of your children during the day.
This scenario characterizes many of the lives of women in India. That’s why India Partners, in conjunction with two of their ministry partners, have been working with women in India through a sewing training program since 1993.
Women in India often have trouble completing school because of the testing that takes place at the end of each grade.
Donna Glass of India Partners says, “They may not be able to get a job because of where they live, [or] the job’s not available for women. So by having a tailoring school, they learn a skill that can be directly utilized as many people always are looking for new clothes or repair of their clothing.”
These women can set up a tailoring shop in their home, allowing them to take care of their children as well.
The alternative to working in the home is not a very comforting one: “They leave their children at home. Often times, [for] many of these women who have young children, there are children six years old watching a two- or three-year-old child at home while their mom spends 12 hours working in the field,” Glass says.
If they’re going to break the cycle of poverty for their children, the women have no choice but to work.
Since the sewing training program began in 1993, India Partners and their ministry partners have helped over 800 women successfully complete the tailoring programs.
Each woman who graduates receives her own treadle operated sewing machine. Electric machines would be unhelpful because of unreliable or inaccessible electricity.
This program enables women to get on their feet and help put their children through school. And it all starts with people like you.
“The funding,” Glass says, “comes from people who have a passion for helping people break the cycle of poverty. It comes from donors, it comes from foundations–we do write grant proposals. But mostly, it’s individuals who want to make a difference, often times one-on-one because one sewing machine makes a difference.”
For those taking any sort of course in the United States, you’ll never believe how inexpensive the tuition is for the tailoring course: $180!
However, that’s not cheap for women who have no money to begin with.
You may have guessed it, but this is where you come in. It’s not as common today, but many women were taught how to sew by their mothers. In fact, mothers have taught their children countless valuable skills. And you can pass them on. This Mother’s Day, India Partners is asking you to honor your mother by providing another mother with tuition, partial tuition, or a sewing machine.
For a sewing machine, it’s $100. This sewing machine will go on to provide money to pay for their children’s lives and education.
And most importantly, it impacts lives in a spiritual way.
“Part of the training is the exposure to the Gospel every day. There is prayer time, women are given a chance to learn more about Jesus, to dedicate their lives to Him if they so choose, and then they are discipled after that.”
Women who decide to follow Jesus are connected with a church. Glass says about 50% of the women who go through the training program are not Christian when they join the schools.
Another way you can help is to pray.
“Pray for the women who are currently in training. There are 60 women who are going to be graduating in June from five different tailoring schools. Pray that they would successfully be able to start their businesses. Pray for the women who have gone through training, who are working, [for whom] it’s made a difference in their lives and the lives of their family.”