Sewing Machines Grow Self-Reliance

  • 11 March 2011

Elder James J. Hamula, First Counselor in the Pacific Area Presidency (second from right), sits with government officials, including the Minister for Social Welfare, Dr. Jiko Luveni (far right), during the first donation of sewing machines in Suva, Fiji.

Article Highlights

  • The Church donated 50 sewing machines in 2010 and will donate 50 more in 2011 to improve self-reliance.
  • The machines will help women in dozens of villages save money and have an alternate source of income.
  • The Church's donations are part of a larger effort by Fiji officials to provide sewing machines to villages throughout the country.

“Our faith leads us to improve our own lives and to look to do good in the world.” —Taniela B. Wakolo, Area Seventy in the Pacific Area

Most cloth items in the 1,164 villages that dot Fiji are hand sewn. 

But with the Church’s donation of 50 sewing machines to Fiji’s Ministry of Social Welfare in 2010 and an upcoming donation of another 50, self-reliance and employment opportunities are growing for women living in the country’s rural areas.

Women in more than two dozen villages throughout Fiji will benefit from this second donation of machines, which help them save money in addition to providing them with an alternative source of income.

Church members’ donations to the humanitarian fund allow the Church to identify humanitarian needs throughout the world and then implement projects like the sewing machine donations. In such projects, Church representatives work closely with village and government leaders to understand local circumstances and respect community members’ wishes.

Pacific Area Presidency member James Hamula visited Fiji’s Ministry of Social Welfare in 2010 to inquire about how the Church could be of assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare Jiko Luveni’s answer was sewing machines. Based on villagers’ requests, the ministry’s goal is to provide two sewing machines to every village in Fiji. Working with the Church and other charitable organizations, the ministry has gathered more than 1,000 machines so far.

“We do this and projects like it because we are followers of Jesus Christ,” Taniela B. Wakolo, Pacific Area Seventy, said in an interview with the Fiji Times. “Our faith leads us to improve our own lives and to look to do good in the world.”