Royal Roses

During a livelihood project we aimed to train a poverty stricken community in fine dress making. The techniques were not difficult, but they took patience and commitment. I knew the community lost almost everything in a recent typhoon, but I was doing them a disservice to accept poor quality results. I looked at one of the handmade roses from crocheted fabric. It was the worse I had seen all day.

Making a joke I explained how it felt less like a rose and more like a rock. I asked the maker if she could try again. Her eyes looked sad and a bit embarrassed. She returned a few more times and showed me what she had done.

The rock maker turned her material to beautiful roses. She did not allow the mistake deter her instead she found a new way of making it, even better than the training originally offered. I brought her downstairs to the other group and spoke of her success. Even if you are at the bottom of the heap and it seems that you do not stand a chance do not be discourage be determined!

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When we arrived in the community there were pigs in the surrounding trees.

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We carried supplies over the bridge. No cars can make it into the community.

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We started with 5 meters of fabric that had been torn and then crocheted, pinned then hand sewn together.

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I had to design on the spot as the original design did not work.

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We trained over 50 people in a range of fashion making techniques in collaboration with New Pathways to Enterprise, Negros Women of Tomorrow Foundation and the Department of Trade and Industry. Big thank you to the most amazing assistant and friend Danielle Martin (Mac).

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Our royal rose maker was telling about the typhoon and how hard it has been in the community. Yet despite all odds she was determined to make a perfect fabric rose.


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