According to a local pastor, “The position of low-caste women in south Asian society is little more than that of a slave. They work tirelessly with little or no recognition, are completely subservient to their husbands and in-laws, and under such great pressure that their personal needs are rarely met.” A lack of education, money and hope ultimately keeps such women trapped in their circumstances and unable to escape.
With the support of local churches, Empart sets up sewing centres to teach sewing skills to women which enable them to earn money, thereby gaining respect and standing within their local community. Armed with such tools, women are then able to climb out of poverty and take a respected positon within their family. This is particularly effective for those women who live in poorer areas and who have very limited access to education. Most woman in our sewing centres are widowed or live with a husband who is either not present, violent or alcoholic.
During this six month course, women also have the opportunity to hear about God’s love and the importance they have in his eyes. This is communicated through bible studies which become a place where the woman can share their problems, worries and joys. As trust builds, many discover the power of prayer for the first time and experience healing in their body, life and circumstance.
Sewing centres require only a small investment because their structure is adapted to local conditions. At the end of the course, a graduation ceremony is held to celebrate the student’s important achievement and honour the effort they have invested. At this ceremony, each woman is also gifted with a sewing machine which enables them to start their business straight away.