Teach. Sew. Create.
These simple words are the framework for Clothed in Hope, a ministry outreach effort in Lusaka, Zambia that grew from a mission trip that Cary resident Amy Woodell took two summers ago.
“That trip changed my worldview and idea of faith,” said Woodell who returned from Africa with a vision drawn from Isaiah 61 to help the women and children she saw who live in such impoverished conditions.
At first, Woodell thought she would need to shift her major studies at the University of South Carolina from fashion merchandising to something that would help her establish a 501 (c)(3) organization. But as she started sewing T-shirts to raise money, Woodell realized she could help the mothers learn to sew for their families.
Woodell has accomplished much for a 22-year-old. She graduated from USC last month, is the CEO of a non-profit and hired four staff members to help with communication and fundraising efforts that include a golf fundraiser planned for August 9 at Golden Hills Country Club in Lexington, S.C.
By the beginning of the summer, Woodell and her team have raised $26,000, enough to get started in Zambia. She plans to buy all the supplies including sewing machines, from Zambian businesses which will further help the community.
On July 24, Woodell leaves for Africa to meet with 8 women from the Ng’ombe compound in Lusaka who have agreed to be the core group involved in the vocation training. The program will help them to establish a business repurposing secondhand T-shirts in a unique style that will be named after the woman who creates it.
“Changing a woman’s life has the greatest impact on her family and the community,” Woodell said.
Elina Mumba is one of the women Woodell connected with on that first mission trip. Since then, Mumba has become the spokesperson of the group.
“Most of women who are left as widows go through a difficult life. Our problems are many,” said Mumba who became a widow in 2007 when her husband died from Malaria. Mumba and her six children became homeless, and have struggled to make ends meet.
Mumba’s oldest daughter will also be a part of the program. At age 16, Tresa Lungu gave birth to a child and was left to raise a son alone. She is now 21-years-old and has another child.
“With Clothed in Hope, I will see lots of changes,” said Lungu. “I could even open my own boutique, take my children to school, feed them, and share with others.”
When the women graduate from the sewing skills training program, they are to receive a manual “Flying Dove” sewing machine that works in slum areas without access to electricity. The cost for each machine is $120. For another $15, a motor can be bought for use in areas with electricity. Woodell believes that through Clothed in Hope ministry, she and her team can “break the cycle of poverty one stitch at a time.”
Picture credit: Clothed in Hope founder Amy with 2015 graduates
Published July 4, 2012 in the Cary News
Find Out More
Clothed in Hope information and ways you can purchase equipment for the women in Zambia as well as t-shirts for yourself or as a gift is available at this link: www.clothedinhope.org.
Woodell maintains a blog at this website: http://allthisforhisglory.blogspot.com
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/clothedinhope
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/clothedinhope
Liza is the Faith Filter columnist for the Cary News. Her stories of faith and lives changed by trusting in God are published about four times a year.