The Vanuatu Society for People with Disability (VSPD) headquarters in Port Vila is hosting a sewing class this week for women with disabilities, organised by Threads Across the Pacific.

The sewing class is supported by Kiwanis Port Vila, and will last for one week, beginning Monday 30th of October till 3rd of November, and will consist of Disability girls and women as well as other women who have small business.

According to Megan Allan, Past Governor of Kiwanis New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (NZSP), said that the sewing class is to teach the women and girls how to make gifts that they can sell to make money from their families in the villages.

“We have been coming here since 2015 to teach the local women how to sew, this was before COVID-19, this year we are teaching them how to sew gifts so that they can financially support themselves and their family,” she said.

The Past Governor mentioned that next week they will be beginning class at Teouma, and perhaps another class somewhere else. “Sometimes we go to Onesua College, and we would love to go to outer islands, but we are a charity so unfortunately funds is something to consider,” Ms Allan said.

She also stated that there are 7 of them who came from New Zealand, who will be assisting the participants, who came around Efate Island, where they will be doing different types of sewing projects.

The VSPD’s sewing trainer, Evelyn James, reported that since Threads Across the Pacific began working with them, particularly with girls and women with disabilities, they have had about four or five training sessions or workshops.

“The organisation has previously been to Vanuatu to conduct similar training sessions. This time, all women are included in the training, not only those with disabilities. They are here to train us together with other female small business owners,” she said.

“Ever since we started this group and completed the trainings, upon observing the ladies we have been training together, I have noticed that the most of them have moved up with standards and are now running their little businesses from home.”

It was also mentioned that the sewing class is intended for experienced sewers who are keen to learn new techniques and patterns. She added that Threads Across the Pacific will teach them ten new skills in total, including how to make a basket and use calico for trading, among other things, which they will learn this week.

“I can see that they have made significant progress because the women here today are happy with what they are doing and, yes, they genuinely want to learn,” she said.

Mrs. James also advised women to take part in such kind of training, especially for people with a disability, who often think they cannot do anything.

“I want to encourage others to attend such trainings, in order to build yourselves, your understanding, to make something out of it to earn an income to support yourselves and your family,” she said.