The Sewing Centre - 6 Mile Post
New sewing centres have been set up
LEFC have opened four sewing centres with more planned. Training is provided for women from poor backgrounds, enabling them to find work in a garment factory or start their own sewing businesses.
The bible tells us not to withhold good from those to whom it is due and to remember to do good to all, especially to those of the household of faith. With this in mind LEFC have begun a number of social service projects, including a new sewing centre set up by the Church at 6 Mile Post.
Despite the importance of the clothing industry in Sri Lanka and the number of jobs it provides, sewing centres are few and far between. Our sewing centre has been established to train women, often widows, from poor backgrounds or girls whose parents cannot afford to educate them further. The centre is run by two qualified and dedicated teachers and the work is overseen by the Elders of the Church who report back to the Senior Pastor on a weekly basis.
There are eleven ladies enrolled at the centre. Nearly all of them have no prior knowledge or skills in dressmaking or sewing. They learn from scratch. Whilst some of the ladies live nearby, others travel a long way and so they live at 6 Mile Post temporarily whilst they do the course with food also provided.
The last three months have been a time of real blessing for this work. Firstly it has made a difference to people in the locality and provided opportunities to share God’s love. Orders for the clothing the trainees make, have been steadily coming in. One local widowed mother, desperately in need of clothing was able to buy clothes from the centre at a special price she could afford. The same is true of school uniforms made here. Those who are poor are only asked to pay what is affordable – sometimes uniforms are given out free of charge. Local people are beginning to see that the centre is not greedy for money, that the clothing is good quality and that those who are too poor are not charged the usual price. These small acts of kindness help to make God’s love known and soften hearts towards our work.
Secondly, the sewing centre has made a great difference to the trainees themselves. Not only do they learn useful skills but it is a blessing to them spiritually too.
One of the trainees, Delikumar Thanushiya is nineteen years old. Her father is a fisherman from the north but he is rarely able to fish due to illness and with younger children to support, the family are in desperate need. Delikumar knew nothing about making clothes when she started but now says “joining the centre as a trainee was the turning point in my life. At the beginning things were very difficult. I had never been near a sewing machine – and a motorised machine at that! But, thanks to the patience and expert coaching of my teacher, Jegatheeswari, I soon overcame my fear.” Now she is mastering some challenging techniques and says “My heart swells with pride and gratitude to God when my finished articles receive lavish praise from my teachers and church elders. I thank God for this wonderful opportunity… Each of the trainees is like a sister to me. We pray together, attend Church together and work together. I thank everyone who has contributed to the running of this centre… you have made a difference to my life and to the lives of many girls like me.”
Finally, of course the centres are a blessing to the teachers, who are able to care for the trainees and impart life-transforming skills to the desperately needy. Trainees and teachers alike are so grateful for this opportunity and ask for continued prayer that this work will continue to be blessed of God in changing lives and making His love known.