The Stitch in Time program has been designed to work with communities in both developed and developing countries, teaching people (mainly women) affected by poverty sewing skills that they can use to generate an income.
The Stitch in Time (SIT) program began eight years ago as part of a partnership with World Vision Australia. At its inception, the program involved Spotlight customers dropping their used sewing machines in store and receiving a discount on a new machine. The old machines were then given to WVA who tagged and tested them and distributed them to communities that they were working in. In the planning phase it was thought that the program would generate approx 2000 sewing machines in the first 12 months and in the first three months an incredible 5000 were donated by Spotlight customers. The program was a great success although the logistics proved to be difficult for the large amount of machines that were donated. And so the program evolved.
providing vulnerable women and families with sewing machines and training opportunities
The SIT program is now managed by Spotlight and we are currently working with two grass roots community organisations, one in Vietnam (http://www.lifestartfoundation.org.au/ - which is managed by a woman named Karen Leonard from Melbourne) and one in Cambodia (http://www.togetherforcambodia.org/ ) where we are providing vulnerable women and families with sewing machines and training opportunities. In addition to this Stitch in Time works on an ad hoc basis with various other organisations including: The Salvation Army, Mission Australia and Igniting Change providing them with sewing machines and materials for existing programs.
All proceeds from the sale of the bags are reinvested back into the Stitch In Time program
In both Cambodia and Vietnam the Stitch in Time centres are up and running and currently generating income for the participants by servicing the local community (i.e. tailoring, making uniforms), as well as making SIT bags, which are on sale in Spotlight stores for $7.95. Spotlight purchases the bags from the centres as well as pays those employed within them a set wage. All proceeds from the sale of the bags are reinvested back into the Stitch In Time program, allowing us to grow the number of communities we are positively impacting.