ISEE Solutions

Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

ISEE Solutions - Investing in Sustainability, Education and Empowerment Solutions

More Fabulous February

First of all, a HUGE congratulations to Anna, Zahara, Bianca and Isabel for winning first place in the Sustainable Development Challenge with their project Education4Her. They beat senior teams from around the city with their passionate presentation about girls in Uganda missing school for something as natural as their period. They boldly spoke in front of their peers and strangers about their own periods and the struggles girls face with their periods. I was so proud!

Their project proposal is to start a small business for 4 women to work together to make sets as a way to help girls in a remote Northern community have access to sanitary supplies so that they can go to school. They will also be able to do their own tailoring and earn enough money to send their own children to school. It’s a beautiful pairing of ISEE’s reproductive health program with the Mama Nguvu program. I am excited to get the project started.

In other news, for those who helped our two mamas in need in December, they are doing fabulously! Mama A was able to make enough money from her shop to invest in a fridge which will bring many more customers. Her children have returned to school and she is so thankful for your support.

Mama A and her new chest fridge

Mama N has managed to get more students for her tailoring school so that she no longer needs to rely on her husband to pay half the rent. He offered her an ultimatum to either move to where he was working or stay where her school is and be on her own. She chose to stay on her own and continue to build the school that she has been working hard to establish.

Mama N’s new tailoring students

Thank you to everyone who has continued to support our Mamas! We are excited to see them progress.

Flossing a metal giant’s teeth

Sewing — that is, operating a sewing machine — is not a masculine pursuit on par with, say, wrestling alligators. Aside from the slight risk of pricking oneself in the finger, it is unlikely that one shall suffer a sufficiently-dramatic scar-inducing wound whilst running a zigzag stitch down a seam. Though there are numerous accessories with which one can, in fact, accessorize, there are not many skull- or dragon-themed after-market customizations available for my mother’s 40-year old Kenmore machine.

Learning to sew — as I did last weekend — is most assuredly NOT going to increase my testosterone.

Yet I’m proud to have learned this skill, and proud to be putting it to good use. While Erika serged seams, I zigzagged pieces together. In the space of a few hours, we made 85 shields for the sanitary sets we’re taking this summer. By the end of the time I was confidently loading bobbins, adjusting tension, and threading needles.

Oh, of course I wasn’t any good. Despite my assumption, the actual task of ‘sewing in a straight line’ is, in fact, rather hard. I have new-found respect for my mother, who effortlessly managed to sew lots of clothes for us on that self-same machine while doing all the countless other tasks she did to make our household run as smoothly as it did. And I’m looking forward to perhaps teaching other (younger) men to sew — perhaps in Uganda, perhaps here — so that they too may contribute and help young women get the education they so richly deserve.

I will continue to hope, though, for a skull-embossed bobbin case… and maybe a bit more chrome.

Just an added bit… this is an interesting article I found today from the Daily Telegraph about men who sew entitled “Sew Macho.”