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Sewing center opens for poor women

Learning to make clothes can be useful and profitable

Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah turns the wheel of a sewing machine at the inauguration Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah turns the wheel of a sewing machine at the inauguration
  • ucanews.com reporter, Hafizabad
  • Pakistan
  • April 5, 2011
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Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shah yesterday inaugurated the “St. Francis of Assisi Sewing Center” at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Hafizabad, Punjab province.

Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, SCJM, also living in the same compound, will supervising classes for poor Catholic women, staying at home.

Bishop Shah started the project by turning the handwheel of a sewing machine and later sprinkled holy water over 14 machines at the facility. “It is a useful skill; do sharpen it. The training can help battle poverty” he said.

The center charges 300 rupees (US$ 3.50) for a six month course on knitting, cutting and embroidery. Father Joseph Shehzad, the parish priest, has been encouraging young women, neither studying or working, to attend crochet classes for several years.

“About 100 Muslim and Christian women have learned the skills in parish villages. However the project has now shifted to the city due to availability of good customers and better scope. For each tailored dress for a woman, they can earn more than the fee paid”, he said. There are more than 1,600 Catholic families in Hafizabad parish, most of them farmers and sanitary workers.

Some 20 school dropouts and a few mothers have applied for admission. Shamim Emmauel, mother of five, is the eldest student at the sewing center. “I tried to send the children to school but they preferred an idle life. Fed up of staying at home, I decided to do something useful”, said the wife of a sanitary worker.

SCJM Sister Magdaline Yaqoob, is hopeful the center will attract more students. “Two harmoniums and tablas (Indian drums) are also arranged for the brothers of students. A music academy is our next goal within available resources”, she said.

The Catholic Church directory 2010 counts eight crochet centers in the country.

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