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Mary's Sewing Group

The story changes to success

Mary fulfils her dream of running a sewing

group for many years and helping lots of women


Mary decided she would start a sewing group to help the

women in her church to learn a skill.  She shared her vision

with her Pastor and he shared it with the whole church. 

Everyone agreed Mary should go ahead, she applied to

TWAM for six sewing machines and the church held a

special gift day to raise the money needed to pay the shipping. 

Everyone was overjoyed when the machines turned up and the

first ladies started their course.

The course was a great blessing and over the first four years Mary ran her course, she managed to train over 80 women.  Mary worked so hard and kept the women busy every day training and using the machines.  She even allowed the women to use the machines in the evening to make clothes to support themselves. 


The sewing machines worked many hours every day in dry dusty conditions, but Mary had found out how to look after her machines and regularly cleaned and oiled them.  When it rained she made sure the machines did not get wet and were stored somewhere dry.  But after four years one of them stopped working.  This did not worry Mary as she knew that sewing machines that worked this hard would not last forever and she had planned for this.  Every month Mary had put a little money aside from the tuition fees she charged her students and had enough money to order two more machines from TWAM.  One to replace the broken machine and one to store ready for the next machine to breakdown.

Over the next five years Mary looked after all her machines and some lasted another year and one kept working for nine years.  But after nine years all her machines had been replaced, and by doing this Mary kept her sewing group going for many years. 


Mary’s dream of a Sewing Group succeeds


1. What did Mary do differently this time?

2. How did Mary manage to raise the shipping costs the second time?


3. What can you learn from Mary’s story, that could help your project succeed? 


If you would like to learn more about running a successful project, click here for our setting up a Self-Help Cooperative pages

If you would like to learn more about ways to finance your project, click here for our Community Savings Scheme Guide

If you would like to download a manual on looking after your sewing machine click here

If you would like to watch a video on looking after your sewing machine click here

To download a PDF of Mary's story click here

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