Torres Vedras volunteers come together every week to sew “with their hearts” dresses and shorts for needy children around the world, giving meaning to the Swahili expression ‘My Moyo’, the name of the solidarity sewing studio.
Each dress of the 25 volunteers comes out with a heart-shaped pocket, the group’s way of demonstrating their solidarity and identifying their donations after deliveries by volunteers or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in various countries.
The “My Moyo” workshop, which means “my heart” in Swahili, was created in June 2017 by Sofia Figueiredo and is one of the 20 solidarity sewing ateliers in the country to collaborate with the international program ‘Dress a Girl Around The World ‘. In addition to dresses for girls, these volunteers also wear shorts for boys.
According to the mentor, “started with five or six volunteers in an initial phase and now there are already more than 25“, not counting other workshops that are collaborating with the project, such as Santa Casa da Misericórdia or a studio in Bombarral and with who donates fabrics, threads, buttons and even sewing machines.
Besides the meetings on Monday in the studio, most of the volunteers, “during the week, sewing at home and brings 12 or 20 dresses made,” he said.
Most are people without professional or retired workers.
Isabel Lopes, 61, is one of them. “For nine years I have stopped working, I have always liked manual work and I was taking my time in it. On the Internet, I saw a video of the project and found the solution here so that I did not miss my son so much, foreign“.
“It’s a rewarding job. It not only helps me occupy my mind but also when I see my work on those boys’ bodies, I’m very happy,” she says excitedly.
This volunteer has already influenced to the task, which understands as “therapy“, two family members, one of whom is going through a health problem.
Celeste Cordeiro, 54, dedicates most of her time to the project since May 2018. “Since my husband is in Angola and visas only allow two months to go there, I go back and spend a lot of time alone. I feel useful too, “says the volunteer who, motivated by solidarity, learned to sew in the studio.
In addition to the confection, he has already made two deliveries of clothing to NGOs in Angola, which then distribute it to children, many of whom “do not have access to school” and the “only meal of the day that they take is provided by the NGO.”
“It is very gratifying to be able to see the joy on the children’s faces when we give them the dresses and the shorts, but it is very emotional to know the realities in which they live,” said the volunteer, adding that in January, of donations, identified dresses donated by the group in September.
The studio has already put together more than 2,000 pieces in almost two years, including the 200 dresses and 100 shorts that are being flown to Benguela, Angola.
The workshop also donates and donates baby clothes, as well as caps and turbans for cancer patients in the treatment phase.