When it comes to uplifting, retired Southwest Airline pilot Sherri Maple embraces the concept from more than simply the seat of her cockpit. She loves to sew, and in addition to offering a sewing clinic in her husband’s hometown in Nebraska called Kids Sew Camp, Sherri has become involved with Sew Powerful, a nonprofit that combats extreme poverty in a very challenging place called Ngombe Compound in Lusaka, Zambia.

sew-powerful-logoWhile Sew Powerful helps by creating jobs and providing training and tools that facilitate the creation of Purposeful Products (school uniforms, reusable feminine hygiene pads, soap, food), Sherri lends her talents to sewing purses. It indeed lifts her spirits!

“Sewing is creative, it can be calming, it takes your mind off other things. [Currently, COVID-19 issues plaguing not only the U.S. but the whole world.] I just wanted a way to help at this time,” she explained, “and I was inspired by those making masks!”

So why ARE purses important? From sewpowerful.org: In Zambia, it’s the common cultural practice in both poor urban and remote village areas that girls stay home when they are on their periods. This is because they don’t have a reliable product solution they can afford. So, to avoid the risk of social embarrassment – they simply stay home. Disposable products are not the solution because there is no garbage collection and the cost is an impossible barrier to overcome. A well-made reusable product that replaces their traditional method is the best solution.

The well-received purses provide a discreet way for girls to handily store reusable feminine hygiene products, so they CAN regularly attend school, they CAN be educated and pass exams, they CAN make better lives for themselves and their families. When girls receive a purse, they take The Sew Powerful Pledge – and promise to stay in school all month if they receive a purse filled with supplies.

If interested in helping, know founders Jason and Cinnamon Miles have a goal of 20,020 purses for 2020, so dust off the Singers, pull out the Baby Locks, tune up the Berninas and get to sewing! (Beginner and Intermediate patterns available HERE.)

“Everything you need is on the Sew Powerful website and you can also find videos on YouTube. I’m happy to help, too, if anyone wants to contact me, they can through sherri@tealitup.org,” Sherri offered. “It was all great timing, because I really wanted to do something to help, and I found Sew Powerful through the Baby Lock site. It’s something I enjoy, and it helps others who need it!”