Rotary International’s [RI] new year began on 1 July. RI’s new president, President Shekhar Mehta, sent directives to over 33,000 Rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries and geographic areas. He made it an imperative for all Rotarians to “Serve to Change Lives.” Part of that imperative is to fight gender discrimination and inequality. Girls [and women] are equal stakeholders in this world, and they should have equal rights.”
Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset [RCBUS] embraces that imperative. In November of 2019, RCBUS began a project entitled Sewing for Living. It was developed by our Past President, Kartika [Tika] Dewi. Sewing for Living is an empowering and encouraging program for Balinese women who do not work outside of their homes. Tika talked to local women and knew that it was important to them to make their own money, not only for their self-esteem, but to enable each of them to be able to support her entire family. RCBUS felt that if we could provide appropriate training for women to be able to operate sewing machines and to crochet, then these women would be able to earn money without leaving their homes. RCBUS secured funding, some from Rotary Clubs as far away as Australia and New Tampa Noon Rotary in Tampa, FL, USA. Rotary Club of Seaford in Sydney, Australia donated sewing machines. Tika also secure local companies and markets which agreed to purchase products made by the Sewing for Living women. All looked very bright for the future of the program.
Then along came Covid-19 and, without the income generated by tourism, the local companies and markets could no longer afford to purchase Sewing for Living products. Yarns and fabrics became cost prohibitive. Balinese men lost their jobs which diminished their ability to provide for their families. Sewing for Living was needed more than ever to help women help their families.
That’s when Sewing for Living learned a lesson in global communication and cooperation, and we began to wrap the world in caring and in yarn. An RCBUS member began two plans of action – 1. To purchase crocheted hats to send to charities in Mexico, Tasmania and in Tennessee so that little Mexican kids in need and homeless people of all ages in both Tasmania and Tennessee would have help staying warm during the cold winter months in their countries 2. To request donations of yarn and sewing notions from individuals and other Rotary Clubs to ensure that Sewing for Living could keep producing saleable items. Currently, yarn and sewing notions are donated by individual in Tasmania, Australia, and in various states in the US. On any given day, yarn arrives as a donation from Australia or the US and is crocheted into hats, scarves, golf club covers and other items here in Bali and the finished product is sent to yet another country. Rotary Club Tucson Sunrise just sent word that they are mailing a donation of 36 kilos of yarn and sewing notions to Sewing for Living and that they have involved a second Rotary Club located in Catalina, AZ, in their efforts. The supply chain may be a bit unorthodox, but it is working!
However, a one-person market is a precarious market, and it became obvious that RCBUS needed to expand Sewing for Living’s available markets. Thanks to a partnership with E-Club Cologne in Germany our markets have expanded. E-Club Cologne has agreed to market products made by Sewing for Living at Christmas Markets in their area. For a donation to Sewing for Living, those attending the Christmas Market can obtain a crocheted or sewn item of their choice. Those donations will them be sent to Sewing for Living participants.
However, a seasonal market is not sufficient to sustain Sewing for Living either. So to increase markets, RCBUS is about to initiate a new program to supply Sewing for Living participants with new markets. We will offer training to the participants in the art of selling their products online. We will start training them the “ins and outs” of sites such as Bukalapak, Shopee and Tokopedia. When the participants are comfortable with those sites, we will train them in selling on international sites such as Etsy and eBay.
RCBUS is excited about this new project. It reaffirms what we already know – that as we “Serve to Change Lives”, one of the lives that is changed is our own. And it is changed for the better!
As you read through the pages of this edition of Bali Advertiser, please stop for a moment to read the ¼ page ad about RCBUS’ charity golf event, Bogies for Bali, to be held at Handara Golf & Resort Bali on 25 September. Please consider attending, helping to sponsor the event, or donating to the event’s live auction or raffle. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I f you would like to help with RCBUS’ new training program or would like more information about RCBUS’ other projects, please contact us at rotarybaliubudsunset.org/club-projects/.
If you like to join this dynamic group of people who love Bali and work to help the people who live here, information to do so can be found at rotarybaliubudsunset.org/how-to-become-an-rcbus-member/.
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