Susan Campbell can be found at the Mpact Community Centre every Wednesday and Thursday, teaching women to sew.
Ladies from the community attend lessons in groups of four at a time, following a SETA approved four year course. All sewing machines, material and other stock, as well as the teacher and facility, are sponsored by Mpact. Currently fourteen ladies are attending the lessons and ten children have lessons at Uzwelo Children’s Home on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
Four of the ladies who find it difficult to attend the sewing classes at Mpact, are also taught at Uzwelo, in a separate class. To qualify for being part of the sewing classes, the ladies must be able to, or learn to, speak English for proper communication and understanding of instruction manuals and patterns. Delisile Vilakazi, a third year student, is now an assistant in the other classes and often interprets difficult instructions. The lessons start off with all the necessary basic sewing techniques, but soon proper garments (including skirts, blouses and hats) and even bags are made.
Sets of matching skirts, tops and bags are also sewn.
Offcut pieces of material are used too. After patterns for garments or bags have been laid and cut out, the left over pieces of material all find their way into a large box. These offcuts are then cut into squares and lovely patchwork quilts are sewn from them. Four of the best sewing students from the senior classes will be chosen to make hats and handbags for a coming competition and a lovely prize might await the winner … The actual object of the project is to help the participating ladies (in the present classes and classes to follow), to finish something that can lead to them generating an income later on.