Healing Stitches

Leonora Le Saldo
Posted December 14, 2019 from Trinidad and Tobago
Me sewing away.
Wearing one of my own designs. (1/3)

I learned to sew not because I loved sewing, but out of necessity for living a life free of violence and abuse. I learned to sew to survive while running from a life of terror and abuse. Has sewing made everything in my life perfect? No, it has not. Perfection is a fallacy! However, it has increased my self-confidence, is helping me heal from the traumatic experiences I endured and through sewing I am empowered and I have sewn garments to support victims of violence in their recovery. While sewing has not made me rich as yet, it has provided for me to become an asset and I work toward becoming completely self-sustainable. Today I sew because I am passionate about it, I push forward because it has become a significant part of my life and provides a vision of hope every day. Every woman must be provided with opportunities to pursue informal and formal education to bolster self-confidence, become productive assets, and change the course of their lives. All this is part of claiming our spaces.

Today, I am working on a model called "Together We Sew". This model will be a strength-based participatory replaceable model which will build the capacity of women and girls who are marginalized and have experienced domestic violence and sexual assault. It will provide social, entrepreneurial and life skills to women and girls who have been victims of violence and abuse. And will support women to develop their social capital to engage in civic participation, use their voices and agency to advocate for change by holding power-holders accountable.

"Together We Sew" is a concept one of my World Pulse sisters shared with me in early 2019 and she continues to provide technical support to develop the model which I aim to launch in March 2020 as a pilot project. I remember her saying "why don't you use this gift to empower marginalized women and women who are victims of violence?" she encouraged me to use my skills on a much wider scale to support victims of violence and women from rural areas who are marginalized, I have always wanted to do something to support the social reintegration of victims and empower women and girls who are looked down upon by many in society.

"Together We Sew" will restore a sense of hope to women and girls who are stripped of hope in themselves and humanity. Enhance self-efficacy enabling women and girls to understand and harness their power to take control of their environment and immediate spaces. And build life skills providing women and girls with the opportunity to gain skills to advance in the career path of their choice. Women are important to the world and this model will let women know they are important to the world by acknowledging their self-worth, power and competence.Sewing is an art, a skill which allows for the creation of beautiful artistic pieces which stuns even the dressmaker at times. Every stitch is a stitch of hope, healing and restoration. All pieces shown in pics were sewn by me.

Comments 21

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Lisbeth
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Dear Aunty Leonora,
Wow, very splendid initiative. Did you also sew that dress you are wearing? It's looks super on you :-).

My mum also sew and I can tell you she loves it. When she sits on it we always have to beg her to get up and go and eat ha.

Your project is amazing and I am very sure you will bring a lots of smiles to most girls and women faces in your country.

Also they will be financially independent as they become masters on their own.

Thanks for sharing and have a lovely Sunday.
Hugs

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Sewing has really become my passion. There are times I forget to eat. Lol

Lisbeth
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Oh you are :-). Same with my mum puha ;-). So when I was home I made sure heavy food was ready in the early hours of the mornings. After she ate that then we are certain it will be supper again haha.
Take care
Hugs

Marie Abanga
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Dear aunty L,
Beautiful and therapeutic. It would be such a laudable project. Sewing like painting, or singing, drawing, poetry, all such to me are so therapeutic.
I really wish you the best with your project and may the impact be an hurray

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thank you

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 15, 2019
Dec 15, 2019

Hello, dear Leonora,

You inspire me. I have been wanting to learn how to sew. When I was 4 years old, I tried to "sew" using my mother's sewing machine, then accidentally my thumb got stuck as the needle pinned it down. Since then, I was not allowed to come near the machine. I look forward to learn that skill when my children are old enough not to touch needles.haha.

Thank you for sharing your story. You do look lovely in that dress. Or better yet, the dress looks lovely on you.

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thank you. I've had a couple needle experiences myself. Not at four though, lol.

You’re welcome, dear. Oh, I see it’s part of the learning process.Thanks for the heads up! LOL. Have a great day!

Anita Shrestha
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Dear Sis
THank you for sharing

Jill Langhus
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

Hello Leonora,

How are you doing? Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful clothing creation photos with us! I keep thinking I'll take sewing back up, but never get around to it. My sister attempted to teach me a couple of times and I just didn't have the patience, but now I wish I would've paid more attention. Oh well. There's still time:-)

This is great advice. Who encouraged you to pursue this project? Kudos to them:-) I'm looking forward to hearing more about it. How many women will you be training?

I love your tagline, or could be tagline, about "every stitch is a stitch of hope...."

Hope you're doing well and having a great week! Good luck with your project, dear!

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Hi Jill,
Indeed you still have time to learn to sew. Would be starting with at least 10 ladies, also want to introduce a craft and jewelry class as well.

Jill Langhus
Jan 01
Jan 01

Thanks for the encouragement, Leonora... I think you're right!! Looking forward to hearing more about it!

Happy New Year!

lizzymark
Dec 16, 2019
Dec 16, 2019

What courage Leonora, this is an encouragement to me and Karen who have had the love for sewing but have not done nothing yet.I hope still do so.This is a way of freedom from dependency,poverty and lack.Its a great thing you are doing keep it going.

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thanks Lizzy

Akshaya9
Dec 18, 2019
Dec 18, 2019

Hi Leonora,
Thank you for sharing your story. My dream is to learn how to sew using the sewing machine but I'm scared to get stuck my finger.
You have a lovely dress :-)

Take care!

Andra Marasteanu
Dec 22, 2019
Dec 22, 2019

What an amazing project, Leonora!
Your life is an inspiration and I am happy for you finding your a way to support others on their path!

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thank you Andra, much prayers brought me through.

Andra Marasteanu
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

The connection with the divine is a great support: everything is possible. Be blessed!

Azeezat
Dec 29, 2019
Dec 29, 2019

Dear Leonora. Respect!!!!
Beautiful! Oh! Beauty in your mind and mode of expresions.

I love your tone of confidence, determination and deliberately mapped out consistency for yourself and a community too. Bravo!

I respect and celebrate you for choosing to hone and express your skills. Kudos ma'am! ❤

Me here! Rooting for you!
Together we sew! Together we craft too!
:-D

Leonora Vanhanegin
Dec 30, 2019
Dec 30, 2019

Thsnks much...

Jill Langhus
Jan 01
Jan 01

What great feedback, lovely Azeezat!!

Great job!

XX