Only this week did I drag it all out of my car. As I had suspected from furtive glances through the window, that "someone" would not be me. Most of it was lengths of cheap garment fabric--usable, but too bold, shiny, or polyester-y for my taste.
I offered the fabric on freecycle, and heard back from a local woman whose church has a connection to the Elikya Foundation, which (among other things) trains widows in the Democratic Republic of Congo to make clothes for a living. Perfect!
Kiva Microfunds is another way to support independent stitchers (and other types of small businesspeople or landholders) around the world. Instead of your money sitting in a bank, it is put to use by honest, hardworking people--who almost always pay it back on time. Here are just some of the tailors and seamstresses I've made loans to.
Hector, from Colombia (my very first loan), bought an overlock machine:
Yoslaida (Colombia) had worked in garment factories. She and her husband wanted to start a business from home so their 3 kids could have a better life. Her dream is to develop her own line of clothing and be able to provide jobs for others.
Laura was a seamstress for 20 years in Argentina. She moved to Florida and has started her own alterations business here. Her dream is to make custom-designed wedding dresses.
I think of these men and women often. I am glad for the opportunity to help them pursue their dreams--those dreams that seem so familiar to me.
I am also glad that they are not working in sweatshops.
Well, I should say, they are not working in someone else's sweatshop. Sewing can be hard work!