Thank You, Sewportive Friends!

by | Mar 26, 2024 | Community

sewing machine donations reusable sanitary pads

At Imvelo we love Community Conservation heroes, and Julie Phippen is a real one.

There are still many regions of the world that do not have feminine hygiene products available or are not affordable for these families.  Sewpportive Friends is a volunteer community providing home-sewn, washable, reusable feminine hygiene products to girls and women in need in rural villages of Africa.  We are providing hope,  encouragement and opportunity.

She first came to Africa on a safari with Imvelo and our friends Steve and Kathy in 2013 and by 2016, appalled with the idea that high school girls at remote rural high schools might drop out of school because they didn’t have the means to protect themselves from embarrassment, she and some of her colleagues established Sewpportive Friends. They researched and designed comfortable hygienic washable sanitary pads that could be made on sewing machines, using materials and skills all provided by their project.
Ngamo village was one of the first places where their work rolled out, where hundreds have already been made in a sewing room at the Ngamo Lions Soccer Academy. So, on Julie’s most recent visit (her 20th) we set up another sewing hub at Mlevu near our new Sanctuary. Three volunteer ladies from the experienced team at Ngamo led by Dorothy Ncube visited with Mama Mlevu and some ladies from her village, for a morning of hands-on teaching and training. Julie handed over 5 brand-new Singer sewing machines to cries of joy from the ladies of Mlevu as well as bags and bags of materials including fabrics, templates, cotton, studs and buttons from the many suitcases she routinely travels with. Enough to make hundreds more.

What a wonderful morning it was, the enthusiasm, excitement and joy for us all in being productive and helpful was infectious. The young blind orphan Thembisile being cared for by Mama Mlevu was attentive every step of the way. Hannah and Blessing provided support and logistics from Imvelo and within a few hours Mama Mlevu was dancing and laughing “I’ve already made two!” We said our goodbyes then departed for a sandwich lunch back at Hotel Charlie before a game drive into Hwange where a huge herd of elephants put on a wonderful show for us at Major Pan.

We got a wonderful follow-up from the team and in less than a week the sewing team at Mlevu have already made a great number of pads! We are hopeful about the future of this project.

reuseable sanitary pads

Good things happen to good people. Thank you, Julie and see you in November!





Our Team

Safari Fun

Camps and Lodges

Hwange National Park




Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts
Verified by MonsterInsights