Sew & Sew Beautiful Hand-Made Gift Bags for your Wine
The story of how two women, from Australia to Indonesia, are helping women rise from poverty, stitch by stitch. Jodie Armstrong is a well-respected Australian viticultural consultant and winemaker with critically acclaimed wines. Jodie is not only passionate about her wines but also about sewing. Read on to learn about the inspiring story of her handmade Sew & Sew gift bags and the program she set up to empower women in Jakarta, Indonesia.
I HAD TIME ON MY HANDS
As the grapes are ripening, there is a small window of 10 to 14 days where I am no longer watering the grapes, right before the harvest. In January 2013 I used this opportunity to sneak off and visit my friends who were living in Jakarta, Indonesia. I had packed my suitcase and checked on the vineyards one last time, when on my drive home the headlining news on the radio was “thousands flee from deadly Jakarta floods.”
Upon my arrival in Jakarta, the drive from the airport to the city took us through areas where the water was just below the car windows. The low-lying areas where poor people live were inundated.
… THEN I MET MARIA…
As I delivered clothes for the flood victims through the British Women’s Club, I heard about a local woman who had set up a foundation to help the poorest of the poor by teaching them to sew. It was not until my second visit to Jakarta a year later that I met Maria. Maria Samual is a woman single-handedly fighting against poverty by educating women who are not recognized by the government as citizens. Maria teaches the women a skill to earn an income, hygiene, nutrition and budget. It creates self-esteem and feeds families.
… WE JOINED FORCES…
In support of this wonderful woman and her essential work we have joined forces and are running a wine gift bag project. I provided seed funding to purchase material and thread and labour for the first batch of 50 bags. All of the proceeds from the sale of the hand-sewed bags go back into the program. We now sell enough bags to self-fund the project as it grows, and the excess money is put into the education of the children.
When we first started, I met with Maria and the women in a house which was missing a side wall. Maria and I negotiated and determined the process whilst the women looked on. During my last visit, it is with the women that I negotiated: they have become excellent business women, which attests to the success of this program. I also met several children who had been educated through this system and are now planning
to go to university. The foundation building now has four walls and a roof, with bathrooms for the women and children to wash when they visit, as well a kitchen used to feed local children.
… AND LITTLE BY LITTLE,LIKE A DROP IN THE OCEAN,WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD….
We started with 50 bags and have now reached 300. It is my aim to sell 500 this year, and then hopefully thousands.
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