(ABC4 Utah News – Salt Lake City, UT) I must admit that the click, clack of a sewing machine takes me back to my childhood when my mother was a sewing teacher. We didn’t have a lot of money and my mother made a lot of our clothing.
Gino Rich, Founder of Sew Much Hope made it really come home when he told me; “We haven’t found anything else more economically empowering to lift a woman out of poverty in a third world than a sewing machine.”
He showed me around his workspace filled with sewing machines he was restoring. He handed me a disk-shaped piece of metal with gears and a handle and demonstrated how a hand crank works. That simple modification gives people hope all around the world.
Rich explained; “We need to go to the third world and find third world solutions to third world problems. That’s why we do hand crank sewing machines.”
The non-profit, “Sew Much Hope” retrofits old sewing machines with hand cranks and then sends them to a woman in need, a group of women, a school, church, or village.
Rich is passionate about the simplicity of the machines he gives new life to’ “A hand crank machine can be placed anywhere in the world. Refugee camps, displaced people in the middle of a disaster. They always work. There not power dependent.”
Sew Much Hope has placed sewing machines all over the world. As Gino shows me pictures of people using these machines in worldwide, you can see how much they mean to the recipients.
A video of villagers in Ghana says; “We are most grateful to the company that donate this to us “Sew Much Hope” that Ghana is most grateful, and Abagail is here who is an apprentice to the madam. ….so that she will have the machine for good benefit and use to start her own business. We are most grateful. Aren’t we? I’ll try!”
Pictures of women and children in Nepal, Honduras, Philippines, Mexico and a refugee camp in Greece demonstrates the hope that a simple sewing machine has made in their community.
Gino Rich, Founder, Sew Much Hope puts the impact in focus; “We had two machines go to a village in Uganda, they’re making school uniforms. The woman came back and said we are saving hundreds of girls. Without a school uniform they can’t go to school. Without education, they have no future. Two sewing machines provided that for hundreds of girls. That’s why we are obsessed with sewing machines. When we find the impact that we have it makes you feel pretty good. “
A sewing machine can have more impact than you think. Rich continued; “We haven’t found anything else more economically empowering to lift a woman out of poverty in a third world than a sewing machine. Food on her table, medicine for the kids, tuition, school uniform, hygiene kit for her daughter to stay in school. Everything will come out of that sewing machine.”
How can you help? Donate.
Utah Caring Stories celebrates the human spirit of neighbors helping neighbors. In my mind, neighbors are not necessarily defined by borders. Rich summed it up by saying; “Our slogan is Sewing Threads of Hope Across Borders and between Hearts. The hearts we join are your heart and the heart of the woman that you saved in the third world and lift her from her poverty. If you’re not loving your sewing machine, I’ve got women that will.”
For more information go to: www.SewMuchHope.org. The drop-off point for sewing machines to Sew Much Hope is: JW Custom Hats at: 2354 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84119
Together we can triumph over our trials. These are stories that deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop.