Edith and the Machines
Stitching the Fabric of our Foundation
September 3, 2018
The Paper Fig Foundation focuses on empowering women through fashion. But one of the women who has truly shone through the growth of this foundation is not sitting behind a sewing machine, and she’s not walking down a runway. Edith Muhindo is the glue of the organization in Kasese, one of the regions where Paper Fig focuses its energy.
“I’m changing lives through my work with the Paper Fig Foundation,” said Edith.
She started out in 2016 as a program assistant, but on our most recent trip to Kasese, Edith’s expertise, confidence and vision shone through. She presented to Laurie DeJong, Founder of Paper Fig Foundation, and the rest of the team from New York about decisions they’ve made on the ground in the interest of ensuring the sustainability of the foundation.
For example, the graduates of the Paper Fig Sew School have banded together to form the Paper Fig Foundation Alumni Association, through which graduates can continue to come together in a safe space, to create new work and to find support in their community.
“These girls are able to come back here, and when they have customers they come and sew their clothes with these machines and go and sell them,” said Muhindo. “We also made for them a saving circle, they have a savings group where they meet quickly and save up some little money from the incomes they get from the dresses they make and then they can borrow that money to do other things in their lives that need money.”
Muhindo is always working towards the future – she helped to lobby the Ugandan government for 14 new sewing machines, which they secured without the help of Paper Fig. The office of the prime minister saw the merit in their proposal and granted the school 14 new sewing machines and two sweater knitting machines. Next, she hopes to get funding for a new space to house these new machines, which would ideally be more central so members of the Paper Fig Alumni Association can meet clients and sell their dresses.