The atmosphere in the small sewing studio in Suntakhan is exuberant. There is a lot of activity on the floor and at the machines, fabrics are measured, different patterns are drawn and cut to size. Around 30 women from the region are currently learning, laughing and sewing here together every day.
They are part of the latest Long Yang project in Suntakhan, which began at the end of July with the aim of giving women a career perspective through vocational training. In cooperation with Akasha Academy NGO and with financial support of the Schöck Family Foundation, we have put together a training program for sewists.
A total of 30 women are given the opportunity to learn basic practical sewing and tailoring skills from an experienced sewist within three months. The project is supervised by our Akasha Academy NGO members Rinchen Lama and Hissi Dongala. Hissi runs a successful company herself, the weaving mill “Sunny Pashmina”; so she can share her experience and give the participants valuable advice for their own business.
Most of the future sewists are highly motivated. Training opportunities are rare for Nepalese women who traditionally marry after school and take care of family life. The Long Yang sewing project aims to help the women to prospectively earn their own income, hence also becoming more independent of their family structures.
At six days a week the women spend two hours each in the sewing studio, which was made available especially for the workshop. The lessons take place during lunchtime, when the children are still in school, so that as many women as possible can participate.
Hissi and Rinchen visit the project regularly, and each time they are more enthusiastic about how fast the students are making progress. Some of them show great talent and are particularly committed to applying what they have learned.
The aim of the project is for the women to be able to produce and sell their first articles on the local market after successfully completing their basic training. Since there is no tailor in Suntakhan yet, but a need for textiles, there is a good chance that the produced children’s clothing, ladies’ clothing etc. will find satisfied customers.
The project has proven very popular so far and some of the women have shown great interest in using it to create a career perspective. We are therefore currently planning to continue to support the women by enabling them to deepen their knowledge in an advanced course and subsequently to found a cooperative.