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    Thinking of sustainable solutions for one group of Rohingya women

    Day 93

    In Their Hands

    Yesterday, we met a group of Rohingya women. They’ve lost their husbands, and are struggling to not only be the sole provider for their families, but to navigate without their partner.

    We knew that gathering firewood for cooking was a big worry for them. So a few weeks ago, we purchased a month’s worth of firewood so that they can rest a little easier. But we also knew that one month would only mean a moment’s reprieve.

    Today, we’re thinking about ways to make the solution more sustainable – starting with sewing machines.

    With sewing machines, the women can sell clothing they make or other items, earning enough income to pay someone to deliver the firewood moving forward.

    We purchased five sewing machines for the group, and asked the women how to divvy them up. They decided that they’ll go to one woman’s house at first, where the others could be taught how to sew, and then later to different shelters where anyone came come and use them as needed.

    “Everyone in this block will learn how to sew,” said Shafiqa, the leader of the group. “We can also use the machines to alter clothes that were given to us, but that don’t fit.”

    Another woman showed us how the shirt she was wearing had certain details that she liked – she said she wanted to learn to make something like that for herlself, and for others to purchase.

    The sewing machines will help these women gain some independence, saving for things like firewood and food. It’s one step toward a more empowered future – toward a future that’s in their own hands.

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