Monday, September 01, 2014

Pastor Edwin Sews Empowerment in Bolivia

Edwin is the pastor of a small church in the city of Oruro, Bolivia. When he became a Christian, he devoted himself completely to serving the Lord. He wanted to go to seminary to become a pastor, but could not afford it, so he decided to get creative. A friend gave him an old sewing machine and he began teaching himself how to sew, selling every piece of clothing he made. That machine, he said, not only paid for his seminary courses but also his apartment rent and food while he was studying. For him that machine was his most prized possession.

When he finished his studies, Edwin felt called to plant a church on the outskirts of the city. He hoped to serve the growing community of migrants who were fleeing the rural areas to find work in the city. Remembering how beneficial the skill was to him and knowing that it could help others find employment, he started a sewing workshop in his church.

With the support of Bright Hope, he purchased sewing machines and materials, and created a space where women from the community could come and receive training. This training gave them the necessary skills to get a job and earn income to better provide for their families. Since opening in 2011, more than 30 women have received training, and some have gone on to start their own small businesses. Edwin does not only teach them how to sew, but uses the workshop as an opportunity to share God’s word and invite the women and their families to the church.

Vania is one of the women who has benefited from Pastor Edwin’s sewing workshop and a 22 year-old mother of a four-year-old daughter and three-year-old son. She initially came to the workshop to receive sewing training from Pastor Edwin because her daughter needed dresses to wear to school, but Vania couldn't afford to buy them. Her daughter would come home crying because she couldn't participate in the school parade without a new dress and Vania felt terrible that she couldn't provide this for her daughter.

With the training she received in the sewing workshop, she was able to make dresses at a much lower cost. Not only did she feel fulfilled as a mother to be able to provide for her daughter, but she also found something she's good at and truly loves to do. Now she and her husband Marcelo have opened their own clothing business. Vania makes dresses and school uniforms for children and her husband makes sports clothing. They sell their clothing at a reasonable price so parents can afford to provide what their children need for school. Together they have been able to better support their own family through their small business. Both Vania and her husband are grateful to Pastor Edwin for giving them this opportunity and changing their family’s life.

Support Bright Hope's work in Bolivia or Microenterprise.