All of our students can read! When we started with our current class of students in April, one of the goals of the sewing school was to be sure that all of our students are literate. The previous ministry discovered at the end of two years that several of the women they had been teaching could not read, so this time we employed a literacy teacher.
Our current class of students includes some who are in high school, some who have graduated, and some who are in college, as well as some who had to leave school and were not strong readers. After nine months with the literacy teacher, the team in Haiti determined that all of the ladies are able to read, so the literacy teacher is no longer necessary.
During our last visit, we discussed some of the challenges at the school and how to address them. One issue is that we did not have as many sewing machines as we had students, so students were taking turns with the machines. Machines would get a thread jam and students would just move to another. We brought over several donated machines so were getting closer to the number of machines matching the number of students, but we were still a few short. We are finding that it is much better to have very simple, heavy duty sewing machines that are new and alike, so we are purchasing four new heavy duty Singer machines and are looking for sponsors for them. We should now be at a point where we can assign a machine to a student and she will be responsible for keeping track of the parts, routine maintenance, and fixing any thread or tension issues.
Several of the students that we enrolled in April had to leave when a new semester of high school started and students found that they now had the morning session of school and not the afternoon, and a few more relocated or had to leave for family reasons. New students were added to take their places, but they have not yet received sewing kits, so we are looking for sewing kit sponsors. We are also planning to send over cone thread holders and replacement belts for the treadle machines. Donations are gladly accepted for these items.
We are preparing for our next trip in April. We would be happy to receive pieces of fabric large enough and of appropriate fabric for the students to make clothing. We are also collecting sewing notions of all kinds. Thank you and God bless.