Sewing Supplies Needed for Sewing School in Haiti

 

We have received a request for supplies from the vocational sewing school where mom and I have taught in Haiti. The following is the list of needs. If you are interested in donating sewing items for the school, let us know. We will collect for the next few weeks and then ship some boxes off to Haiti.

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Seam Rippers
  • Tracing Wheel
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Staples
  • Buttons
  • Zippers
  • Bias Tape
  • Lace
  • Needles
  • Notebooks

Deadline: November 1.

Bill, from Mission to Haiti, will be making a shipment very soon so we need to get donations to Haiti in early November. Anything we receive after November 1 will be held for the next shipment.

Thanks so much for your willingness to donate to this awesome school. Donations can be sent to Kim Harms, 804 Timberlane, Huxley, IA 50124 or Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50423

Sewing Machines for Uganda

Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Mom was recently approached by a friend with connections in Uganda. This friend made a request for help purchasing several sewing machines for a new vocational school run by Polline, a pastor’s wife.

Polline decided to open this school when she found that many girls in the area had become pregnant during the COVID lockdown. Her desire is to teach these young women a skill, so they can have a source of income to provide for their babies. The following are the needs for the school.

  • 10 sewing machines ($150 each)
  • 1 Serger ($450)
  • Funds for a temporary structure at Polline’s home to accommodate social distancing for 25 students.

If you are interested in donating to this ministry, please let us know.

Call Out for Wedding Gowns and Formal Dresses for Haiti

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Photo from the wedding of a wonderful guy (my interpreter for the week) that mom and I attended while in Haiti in 2015.

We are collecting your wedding gowns, formal dresses and mother-of-the-bride type dresses to send to Haiti.  These dresses are given to a wedding gown rental business in Port au Prince through Mission to Haiti. They provide Mdm. Bennison with an income,

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Mdm. Bennison

and Haitian women a place to go to find beautiful gowns at a reasonable price.

After the construction of the vocational school is complete (see photos here) the school will also begin renting wedding gowns and selling formal dresses.  This will not only provide income, but will also give the students the opportunity to utilize their tailoring skills by making dress alterations as needed.

This is what we are looking for –

  • Wedding Gowns – They must be new(ish) styles. Haitians have access to the Internet and they know what’s in and what’s not. We also prefer dresses that are not heavy with beading. Some beading is fine, but it’s cost prohibitive to ship super-heavy dresses.
  • Formal Gowns – Your daughter’s Prom dress or a bridemaid dress is perfect. Bonus points if you have multiple bridesmaid dresses of the same style to donate.
  • Mother-of-the-Bride dresses.
  • Nice Capes or Jackets that would go with a wedding gown. Haitian women keep their shoulders covered on their wedding day. (See the little jacket in the above photo.)
  • Sewing supplies like lace, white thread, sequins, trim. . . anything that might add to a formal gown.

If you have questions or would like to donate, contact us through Facebook or 500dresses@gmail.com.

2019 Year End Update on Haitian Vocational Sewing School

Progress is being made on Pastor and Madame Cadet’s vocational sewing school in Beudet, Haiti.  This is the school where mom and I taught on our trips to Haiti. On our first trip the students came to us, and we had classes on the Mission to Haiti property. On our last trip, we taught in the open air on the school property. At that time, the only completed part of the building was the concrete floor. It’s come a long way, but there’s still quite a bit to do. As we receive donations, we send them through Mission to Haiti to be designated for the construction of the building.

 

Haiti Vocational Sewing School Construction Update

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We recently received a construction update from the sewing school in Beudet, Haiti. The above photos show the work that’s been done with the money we sent last fall. They were able to complete the floor and start on the walls. They also were able to create a temporary tin roof, so they are no longer having school on the dirt ground under a tarp (see photo below.) It’s great to see the progress!

Contact us if you are interested in contributing to this building project.

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500 Dresses and Haiti Sewing School Update

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Some our our 2018 sewing school students

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written an update, but 500 Dresses is still plugging away.

Here’s a look at what we’ve done (with your help) over the past few months.

  • Sent 5 wedding gowns to the Bridal rental business in Port au Prince.
  • Sent 5 formal gowns to the Bridal rental business in Port au Prince.
  • Sent tulle overlays for wedding dress skirts that were requested by the Bridal rental business in Port au Prince. (Mom made these.)
  • We are also still sending sundresses with short-term mission teams to various places when we have the chance.
  • Donated $1500 to Mission to Haiti to go toward the construction of the sewing school where I taught in 2012 and mom and I taught at together in 2014 and again in 2018.

 

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Current Sewing School (the building on the right is Pastor Cadet’s house.)

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Future home of sewing school.

 

The cost to complete the next phase (one large classroom) of the sewing school (more classrooms will be added as funds allow) is $4000. As of August, the school had $1000 saved for this. Add in the $1500 500 Dresses sent this fall, and they’ve got $1500 to go. If you desire to donate toward this project, just write sewing school in the memo of your check.

Construction is slow in Haiti. Some projects take years to complete because they only build as funds allow, and funds tend to be scarce. We’d love to see Pastor and Mdm. Cadet be able to move from their open air tarp covered school to a solid building with walls and a roof.

A Witch Doctor, A Sewing School and Construction Plans in Haiti

Vocational Sewing School

The sign on the entrance gate of the vocational sewing school

The Witch Doctor

There was a witch doctor next door. Literally. Right on the other side of the wall.

Mom and I heard children chanting the same phrase over and over as we worked with the sewing students at Atelier D’Apprentissage Specialise (the vocational sewing school) in Beudet, Haiti, and we asked Pastor Cadet what the kids were doing.

It turns out they were learning or performing some form of Voodoo. Pause and let that sink in. Children younger than my Lewis learning Voodoo.

As mom and I worked with this Christian pastor whose desire is for his students to come to know Jesus as they learn a valuable trade, we listened to the sounds of a witch doctor and his students.

I tell you this to preface the fact that the sewing school building, which many of you have donated funds for in the past, is not nearly as far along in the construction process as mom and I expected it to be at this point.

The Sewing School

We were pretty disappointed to see just the footings and concrete floor completed on the building we hoped would be finished by now.  And we were a bit confused by the large footprint of the foundation. But after speaking to Pastor Cadet, we learned that he adjusted his construction plan when the witch doctor moved in.

Pastor Cadet and his wife want to eventually have a building that will house the sewing school and a children’s school/activity center where kids will learn about Jesus – an alternative to the witch doctor’s programs in the community.

In order to achieve his goal, he more than tripled the size of his building plans.  To complete the building in the way Pastor Cadet envisions will cost thousands more dollars. Money that we do not have readily available to give.

But we do see great value in what Pastor Cadet is doing, so we discussed options with him to move the school beyond the open air, tarp canopy space it occupies right now. Options that would provide a usable structure while they wait and pray for funds to achieve their ultimate goal.

Haitian Construction

In Haitian construction, it’s very common to complete a portion of a building and then use that space while slowly adding more rooms as money allows. Pastor Cadet and his wife decided it would be beneficial to complete a central large room of the building now and hold off on big picture plans until sometime in the future.

Pastor Cadet currently has $1000 in a fund to go toward this phase of his project and needs $3000 more to be able to purchase materials and pay laborers to build concrete block walls and a roof. This number is subject to fluctuate depending on the cost of materials. You would think that construction in Haiti would be really cheap, but that’s not the case. In Haiti, labor is cheap, but materials can be exorbitantly high. For example, we were told that a gallon of paint costs about 4 times more in Haiti than in the U.S. It’s sad, but true.

We did not commit a certain amount of money to Pastor Cadet for this project but we hope to help him out as funds allow, and we wanted to give you the opportunity to donate toward this project if it is something that you consider valuable.

Donations can be made out to 500 Dresses and sent to Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50423, or they can be made through Paypal by sending a donation to ervnelson@q.com. Be sure to note on your donation that it is for the sewing school.

Thanks for considering giving. The photos below show the new school construction project and the current meeting place for the school.

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The footings and floor of the school are nearly complete.

The school is currently held under the blue tarp pictured. The building to the right of the tarp is Pastor Cadet’s home.

 

Plane Tickets Are Expensive But God is Good

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In less than a month, 4/5th of my family will be in Haiti. Yowzers. I’m excited, and I know this is what God has for us this summer, but I’ve also been  a bit stressed out and nervous.

One of the biggest stressors was plane tickets. Seriously, the prices constantly change! In fact at one point, I found some within the price range we were hoping for, but I stupidly decided to check another search engine just to be sure this was the best price. When I went back 3 minutes later to put the original tickets in my cart, the price had increased by $400 PER TICKET! What the What??

Needless to say, this piece of the mission trip puzzle was a weight I carried for quite a while.

When we were about 60 days out from our trip and all the plane tickets were a good $200 more a piece than I wanted to spend, I sent a text to 2 of my close friends and asked if they would pray that God would provide tickets within the range I was hoping for or that He would just allow me to be okay with spending more money than we’d planned.

In my head, I know that everything I have is God’s anyway, so if He wants me to take a bunch of moola out of savings and push back the next home improvement project for a couple years, I should be okay with that.

(But my house needs lots of improvements. And selfishly, I don’t want to put off fixing my bathroom for another year or two. It’s very possible that Corey is going to fall through the floor by the shower one of these days, and I have run into walls and stubbed my toes on many middle-of -the-night occasions on my way to the toilet in my twilight zone bathroom. . . you can read a bit about our housing adventures here.)

The day after I texted my friends, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning. 4:00 a.m. to be exact. I could not fall back to sleep so what did I do? I searched for plane tickets. At 4:30 a.m. I found tickets at the price point I wanted for same day travel (lots of tickets to Haiti require long overnight layovers in airports).

And I bought them.

And you know what? Since that time I’ve checked on prices just for fun, and they are never that low.

And that, my friends, is God taking care of His girl.

It’s still not cheap to take 4 Harms people to Haiti, but I know God’s got us. I know this is what we are supposed to do. And I am so excited to serve him and see Him work in our lives.

Preparing for Sewing Classes in Haiti

 

Today my mom taught me how to make the projects that we will be working on with 30 Haitian students next month. Together we carefully worded step-by-step instructions and took photos of the steps. Now we’ll use an online translator to translate the English to Creole and then print copies so the students can follow along as we show them how to make a simple backpack and fabric storage container that hangs on a clothes hanger.

Mom is an ace at this. I am just hoping I don’t mess anything up.

At this point we don’t know the skill level of the students or how many sewing machines we’ll have available to use.

We do know that we will be dripping with sweat. After a never-ending Iowa winter, I will try very hard not to complain about the heat as I wring my skirt out. 🙂

Prayer requests:

  • That we will be flexible and go with the flow.
  • That the projects we have planned are appropriate for the students’ skill levels.
  • That the devotions I write to share at the beginning of each class will draw the students’ hearts to Christ.
  • That we can overcome the challenges of the language barrier.
  • That they will have bottled Coca-Cola available for my enjoyment (Okay that’s a totally selfish one, but seriously, one of the things I love about Haiti is drinking Coke out of a glass bottle.)

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