APRIL 9, 2020

Dear friends,

Thank you SEW much for your continued support through this challenging time; it is even more difficult than many of us could have imagined from just a few weeks ago. Your generous donations and purchases have allowed us to:

  • buy buckets and soap for all our seamstresses who are without plumbing and running water in their homes.
  • send fabric and patterns so that our participants can learn how to make face masks for their families and friends. Not all have access to a sewing machine, so we have been able to coordinate the distribution of fabric, needles and thread for hand sewing.
  • continue to pay into the public health insurance system so that our participants and their dependent children have access to healthcare.

As of May 9th, Kenya remains on a nationwide lock-down; and all schools and non-essential businesses are closed. With the Kenyan government’s aggressive response to the virus through stay-at-home restrictions, bans on cash-use and the enforcement of strict social-distancing orders, we are hopeful that their curve will flatten soon so as to not overwhelm their already taxed healthcare system before they have access to potential therapies and a vaccine.

Our sewing workshops are closed, and shipping has been suspended. The labor market is currently at a standstill, and the seamstresses find themselves in a very vulnerable position, unable to provide for basic needs such as food for their families.

Selling products and putting donations to work enables our seamstresses to earn an income and support their families. As amazing and versatile as the Enkiteng Bags are, it has never been about the bags. Enkiteng Bags are all about the women who make them, women who summon the courage to learn new skills, who become emboldened as they see a path to self-sufficiency. Our participants work hard (and sometimes, risk everything) to defy norms in order to escape the cycle of poverty — and inspire us in return. All of us at Seeds to Sew feel compelled to work hard for them.

We have been hesitant to ask for help, as we recognize the dire needs here in our own backyard. We have no desire to take away from the resources scarcely available to the healthcare professionals, frontline workers and local businesses who are also trying to survive. But, we are encouraged by those of you who have asked “what can I do?” and thus have decided to share ideas on how you can help our seamstresses to sustain themselves through this uncertain period, when they find themselves without resources, income or help from their government.

  • Donate to our “Resilience Fund” if you are able (No amount is too small, as the dollar stretches far in our program areas. $5.00 can feed a family for a week. 100% of your donation will be dispersed directly to the seamstresses.)
  • Shop on our website (Many items are available for purchase, by local drop off or shipment via UPS or USPS.)
  • Share photos of our products on your social media (either photos of products you purchased before, or feel free to share our previous posts)

Or, if none of the above feels quite right, or if you or someone you know needs assistance, access CNN’s Guide to Helping and Getting Help during the Coronavirus Crisis.

We know that these are challenging times for so many of us. We wish you peace, solidarity, and the gifts of good health and love.

The Seeds to Sew Team

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