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Sewing for Ugandan Orphans

There are two things that I particularly love about the blog world.  One is all of the inspiration that can be found there.  The other is having the chance to connect with people whom I would never otherwise meet in 'real life'.  Take Lara for example.  Our paths crossed early this year as we exchanged emails about adoption.  Her inquiring mind and passionate heart encouraged me to dig deeper than ever before into the issues surrounding adoption - questions about ethics, the need, and the many, many orphans who will never be eligible for adoption.  I wrote about some of what I learned here.  I was blessed and inspired to watch her journey unfold as she changed countries from Ethiopia to Uganda; from a healthy infant to a preschooler and/or a special needs child.  She has since been matched with 4 year old "A".  We hope and pray that she is able to bring him home soon!

As she prepares for her second trip to Uganda, she wanted to collect donations for the items the orphanage needs the most.  The orphanage expressed a great need for items for girls entering puberty - underwear, bras, ibuprofen and menstrual pads.  You can read all about that here.   Similar to the situation in Ethiopia, some of these girls are resorting to using trash for pads because they simply don't have any other choice.  It's humbling to read about these needs, a reminder of how much I take for granted here.

On the first Sunday of every month, our church does something called Serve First where we do service projects in the community.  There are generally several projects to choose from and around 100 people participate each month.  There's a woman at our church who makes and sells her own cloth diapers.  I emailed her, thinking she would be just the one to conspire with on planning a Serve First event to help meet the needs of these Ugandan orphans.   She designed the pattern, told me exactly what I needed to buy, provided the microfiber and brought her snap press.  She rocked this project!  I hosted the party and purchased the fabric.

She chose a suedecloth topper to wick moisture away from the body. She decided on a flannel and microfiber inner for great absorbency.

She brought snaps and her snap press.  The pads come together like this.

There were six women who attended the party.  We made the pads in an assembly line fashion.  We used two sewing machine, two sergers, two rotary cutters, and broke 4 or 5 needles. The grand total of our efforts?  27 pads.

The cost of purchasing a similar cloth pad is around $17-$18 per pad.  That means we saved around $450 making these pads, including the cost of the fabric!  And we had so much fun in the process.

One woman also brought 12 gently used bras, which she found thrifting and several packs of new underwear.  I'd call this event a huge success.  I feel so blessed to be a part of such an amazing faith community!

I have to extend an enormous thank you to Dan.  I injured my back last week quite badly, then got into a very minor car accident on Friday and had to go to the hospital to have the baby monitored for a few hours as a precaution.  Thankfully (and as we expected) everything looked great.  But I wasn't able to do as much around here as I normally am, so Dan had to pick up my slack.  He worked hard to get things ready.  When I apologized for my hindered mobility he cheerfully responded that we were in this together and he was glad to do his part.  A man willing to work hard during his very limited free time to help teen girls in Uganda?  Yup, he's nothing short of amazing.  What a beautiful example he sets for our children, too.


  1. Please let me know when your friend is collecting donations again. I would love to donate something... AS you know, I cannot sew, but I would totally donate bras, underwear, whatever is needed!!!

  2. Ditto to Char.

    And Dan IS amazing!

    Hope your back is getting better!

  3. You are amazing my friend! Love catching up on your blog now and then! I wish reading it would allow some of your craftiness to rub off :)


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