When sharing The Sewing Machine Project with others I often struggle to find the words to convey the depth of connection within this organization. Though we began with a simple wish to gather and share machines, I’ve learned over the years that the connections, the lessons learned, the importance of a project like this, has many more layers than one would initially see.

Recently, we received an application from a group called Project Respect, based here in Madison. This group works with those who have been the objects of human trafficking– helping them work through the trauma, the degradation and helps them towards healing. Project Respect requested sewing machines–beginning a creative component to add to the healing path. We asked “Give us an overview of what will be created and how the machines will be used” and this was their response:

  1. Pro-social engagement
    This program is intended to teach participants how to provide benefit to themselves and others in a positive way, such as helping, sharing, donating, co-operating, and volunteering.
  2. Building self-esteem
    This program offers each woman the opportunity to improve her self-esteem through the creation, production and completion of items for sale.
  3. Working and Living Mindfully
    Sewing is a wonderful technique for mindfulness. Sewing requires complete focus and attention. This will help women lower PTSD, anxiety and depression symptoms.
  4. Develop and Internal Sense of Self
    The women in this program are externally focused due to past trauma and abuse. This program will offer them an opportunity to be more internally focused which will allow them to begin to feel calm and safe within themselves.
  5. Heal Trauma
    Sewing will be an important and beneficial avenue for reducing trauma symptoms and providing hope for a future away from prostitution and into a productive, satisfying life.

    (printed with permission of the Project Respect team)

This hits home. These foundational pieces speak to the deeper sense of mission that is The Sewing Machine Project. We share the tools and these tools are vehicles for healing. We cannot  underestimate the need for mindfulness, for healing, for one another.

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