Friday, September 16, 2011

Sewing Her Way Out of Poverty

I read this Op Ed Piece, "Sewing Her Way Out of Poverty" by Nicholas Kristof in yesterday's New York Times and this article really resounded with me because she's used sewing to form a new life for herself.  If you are a sewist and a frequent reader here you can understand Jane's passion for sewing and how she's used it to improve her life in Africa.

So the purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that Mr. Kristof has provided information on how we can help a fellow sewist.  On his blog post entitled, "Can Old Dresses Help a Kenyan Dressmaker" he shares where dresses and donations can be sent to help out Jane.

From the blog post:
"I’m sure some readers will want to help Jane and her family, by digging out any old fancy dresses you may have in your basement. Her specialty is buying used wedding dresses or bridesmaid dresses on the second-hand markets of Nairobi (typically donated in the U.S. and then send in bulk containers to Africa), and then cutting them up and turning them into two or three children’s dresses."

The television documentary company that I’m working with (we’re filming a PBS documentary of “Half the Sky,” the book about empowering women that I wrote with my wife, Sheryl WuDunn) has agreed to accept parcels at its New York office. The company, Show of Force, will then trans-ship the dresses to Nairobi, paying the shipping costs and customs duties (which can be considerable), and get them into Jane’s hands. I hope to be able to run a follow-up blog item down the line with photos of Jane and whatever you send her.

So if you’re so inclined, send the dresses to: Half the Sky, c/o Show of Force, 430 East 10th Street, Suite 3A; New York, NY 10009 I’m sure that some people will ask about contributing money to Jane to support her children’s education, and let me preemptively say that you can make checks out to Force Film Foundation and send them to that same address, clearly marked as for Jane. It’s a 501c3 organization, but you’ll have to ask your accountant about a tax deduction. (So don’t make any checks out to Show of Force or Half the Sky, but to Force Film Foundation.) The foundation promises to forward the money, but it doesn’t have any capacity to monitor its use. If you include your email address, either Jane or her daughter Caroline (who’s more adept at email) may thank you

I know that I want to give a fellow sewist a helping hand and I hope that you will join me.  Again the address is:
Half the Sky, c/o Show of Force, 430 East 10th Street, Suite 3A; New York, NY 10009
I really hope that if you have something to pass on that you will... always, more later!


  1. Half the Sky is an excellent read - makes you appreciate everything and for living in the countries that we do.

  2. Finally! A second life for some of the occasion dresses in my closet that will never be worn again!

    Great post and what a worthwhile cause!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm a professional bridesmaid (kids don't try this at home) and this is a wonderful place for dresses that sit in my closet.

  4. This shows what one determined and desperate woman can do, and I congratulate her on her resourcefulness and grit. It`s also a story about what one woman did to start the place that helped the women learn to sew. One person can make a difference. I`m glad you posted this.

  5. I think this is awesome and I posted a link to this article on my blog. Thank you for writing about it and showing us where and how we could help.


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