Hi, friends! This is a little bit different kind of post, but I hope you’ll indulge me and allow me to share a little more about a group that I feel really passionate about. Like many of you, sewing is one of my great passions, and it’s brought me lots of connections with other seamsters and fiber artists across the world. So, when I learned about this special group of handmakers halfway across the world, I just had to share about it!
My dear friend Lori has lived in Uganda for the last four years, working for Fount of Mercy. Uganda is home to nearly 2.5 million orphans, victims of civil war and AIDS. Fount of Mercy exists to support the grassroots community organizations that have sprung up to care for these orphans. In their words, “Fount of Mercy’s mission is to build indigenous African organizations’ capacity to provide educational and vocational opportunities for the orphans, vulnerable children and caregivers in their communities.” It is Fount’s goal to work behind the scenes building upon the vision, foundation and capacity of local indigenous organizations by providing technical support, resource mobilization, and grant making.
One of the most amazing things about the Ugandan community that Lori lives in is the way that people have opened up their homes to orphans– nieces, nephews, neighbors, and other children in need. But since un- and under-employment is really high in Uganda, it can be really hard to make enough to provide for these large families. Vocational training is a frequent request from these grassroots organizations, so Fount partnered with NYC fashion types to develop courses in, among other things, sewing and tailoring. But their brand-new project is making and selling hand-batiked scarves!
At this time, Fount has a team of 12 artisans who are working full-time crafting these scarves– that means that scarf sales are supporting 12 families!
I’ve eagerly watched Fount of Mercy develop from an idea into a thriving non-profit, but I feel particularly connected to this small group of artisans. I sew for fun and community, but am not struggling to support my family with my handiwork. It means so much to me that I can support handmakers across the world, and by extension, orphans, through an organization that my sweet friend has worked for since its genesis. (I’m also excited to get some of my Christmas shopping done way early… heeheehee…) So, if this excites you, too, you should check out Fount of Mercy’s website, and if you’d like to buy a scarf, head on over to their shop (and be sure to name “Fount of Mercy” as the affiliate if you decide to make a purchase). If you’re the social media type, you can follow Fount of Mercy’s Sewing Hope Facebook page to keep up with their stitchin’-related news.
ALSO— for those of you in the NYC area, another cool thing you can do to support handmakers across the globe is to stop by the Be. The. Voice pop-up shop at Vocedi, 43-45 Grand St. in SoHo. The shop is filled with garments and jewelry made by women who were former victims of sex or labor trafficking, but who have new vocations as artisans. My friend Maggie is organizing and staffing this event. She’s a fellow evening student at FIT and has a real passion for ethically-produced fashion. I can’t wait to check out the shop! It will be open Mon-Sat 11A-7P from October 7th- 29th. You can read more about it here!