Dilton Sewing Day helps refugee women

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A GROUP of local women from Dilton Marsh recently hosted a sewing day, making reusable sanitary napkins as part of a project to provide them to refugees.

On behalf of the group, Sonja Harris said, “Sewing is said to mend the soul, and that was certainly the case at Dilton Marsh on Saturday October 16th. Twenty-three women gathered in Memorial Hall, taking with them sewing machines, scissors, large quantities of fabric… and an iron and ironing board. The goal of the day was to make reusable sanitary napkins for the Pachamama project, which helps refugee women and girls escape menstrual poverty. Set up by two students from the University of Bristol during the Covid pandemic, the project focuses on providing health commodities to these vulnerable groups of women, many of whom arrive on foreign shores with nothing to their name.

“The Sewing Day was designed by Lynne Vercoe, who helped organize the Dilton Marsh Thread Bombs centered on Fairfield Farm College coffee. She felt that the village’s creative community could once again rise to the occasion, but this time turning to sewing rather than knitting for the benefit of the project. On Saturday, with volunteers from the village, Westbury, Upton Scudamore and beyond, Sally Esposito organized the women into groups of machinists, fabric cutters and ironers, not to mention the large refreshment crew.

“The project had provided templates for cutting the three different types of fabrics – anti-pilling fleece, fine terrycloth and cotton – and Sally had already composed several articles as examples. And so the production line started; the machines purred, the iron smoked and the scissors cut. A total of 90 sanitary napkins were produced that day, along with bags to hold the napkins, and the final number is likely to be higher as some women have taken the rest of the material kits to finish them at home. Feedback from the event has been very positive and it is expected that another Sewing Day will take place in due course.

“Thank you to everyone who volunteered; Tess, Sonja, Sally, Penny H, Penny B, Maureen, Helen, Helena, Caroline, Nadine, Linda, Enid, Eunice, Sue, Paula, Janet, Yvette, Ruth, Maeve, Serana, Jane, Menna and Debbie, and to those people who donated equipment and provided refreshments.

For more information on the Pachamama project and to see how you can get involved, visit: www.thepachamamaproject.org/

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