Lacey-Olympia volunteers send 68 handmade purses to girls in Africa

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A group of sewing enthusiasts from Lacey and Olympia sent 68 purses on their way to Zambia, Africa last Monday, July 26, as a part of their advocacy to help girls stay in school.

The purses were made by eight sewers from the Lacey~Oly Crafty Sewers, a chapter of Sew Powerful, an international organization that supports school girls in Zambia. When given to the students, each purse will contain reusable hygiene pads and panties, washcloth and two bars of locally made soap.

Aside from providing purses, Lacey~Oly Crafty Sewers also has four active card makers who make inspirational note cards that go with each purse.

The group presented the 68 purses last Monday to Renton Christian Center in an online unboxing event, prior to being consolidated with other purses to be shipped to Zambia. During the live event, the group also shared the progress that their chapter had made.

Sew Powerful recognized that accessibility to menstrual hygiene products remains a major issue in some parts of the world. For example, in Zambia, access to sanitary products might make a difference between staying home or missing an entire school week.

Sew Powerful distributes the purses to help girls to stay in school during the delicate period of the month. The group’s mission is to help end poverty by enabling girls to achieve academic success.

According to Sew Powerful, girls who are able to stay in school for an entire month are also more likely to pass a crucial 7th-grade exam that would allow them to pursue secondary education.

The organization aims to provide purses to all schools in Zambia by 2030. As of a recent report Sew Powerful has distributed 54,254 purses, which are entirely made by volunteers worldwide.

In a statement, Sew Powerful Lacey~Oly Chapter Leader Deborah Peterson shared, “I am amazed at the local response that I have had from these ladies who generously donated their time and effort in participating in this important cause and I want to see my chapter continue to grow.”

Peterson also encouraged other sewers to join their organization, especially retirees. For those who are interested in creating purses for donations, patterns are available for free at the Sew Powerful website. Sewers also have an option to choose between two patterns, Beginner and Intermediate.

Aside from sewing purses, volunteers may also opt to help in making note cards that will go with each purse. They may choose from various designs that are available at Sew Powerful's online tutorials

To get involved with Lacey~Oly Crafty Sewers contact Deborah Peterson in Lacey at 858-360-0518 or send her an email

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