Projects

STEPS

Step 1 :
Meeting with Ines Calstas, the coordinator of the “More than one trick in my bag” project.

Step 2 :
Visit of the premises and discovery of the sewing activities.

Step 3 :
Listing of equipment and optimisation of the necessary materials (machines, cupboards, scissors, etc.)

Weekly Follow-up :
Regular visits to ensure the smooth running of the workshop and to create a synergy between the different actors of the project.

1. MORE THAN ONE TRICK IN MY BAG

“More than a trick in my bag” is the name of the sewing workshop of the Pastoral des Milieux Ouverts (PMo) of the Roman Catholic Church.

This workshop was born around a sewing machine at the OASIS, the ecumenical reception centre for the homeless in Geneva. The machine and a makeshift seamstress were available for people who wanted to repair their clothes or bring them up to date. A small group formed around this activity.

One of the volunteers explored the possibilities of recycling old umbrellas and converting them into foldable and reusable bags. The idea won over the regulars at the sewing machine and a team was formed to find umbrellas, strip them down to the fabric, make bags and sell them.

The “More than one trick in my bag” sewing workshop was launched in March 2019 at the Montbrillant parish.

2. ACTORS

The people with whom the PMo works are men, women and families who are excluded from society, devalued and for whom access to the labour market is very difficult or even impossible. 

This project highlights their know-how and creativity, while restoring their confidence by enhancing their abilities. The contact with volunteers and parishioners gives them hope for a better life. This activity, offered three times a week, also allows them to progress in an activity that could, for some, lead to a professional project.

3. OBJECTIVES

  • To empower people living on the street by engaging in a process of creation, production and sale.
  • To enable people to build a professional project.
  • Restore confidence and become increasingly autonomous and independent.
  • To offer a small remuneration allowing them to envisage autonomy.

4. OPERATION

The workshop operates 3 times a week, except during school holidays. The team consists of 10 participants and a volunteer in charge. For health reasons, 5 people are present in each workshop twice a week. A break is always planned over coffee and birthdays are celebrated. 

Several people have made great progress in the art of handling needle and thread, sewing machine and scissors. This year they will start to do more ambitious projects, such as cutting fabric according to a pattern and making clothes. 

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