Clementina can’t stop. For some, the sense of accomplishment that comes from earning the respect and gratitude of an entire community would be enough. But Clementina inspires others by also establishing a successful business, empowering others through patience and purpose and nurturing a beautiful family.
For Clementina, these elements represent a foundation from which her ambitions can reach farther. She can touch more lives throughout her Outreach-affiliated community in Zambia. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these plans, but it’s nothing she and her team can’t handle.
Clementina and her team share smiles and equipment as they work to produce face-masks for their community.
Admittedly, Clementina has never been one to stay idle, as noted elsewhere on our blog. Throughout her life, she’s smashed through every obstacle in her path. After excelling at school, she worked as a teacher in a local program. It was specifically designed to empower teens by equipping them with a variety of applicable professional skills to expand their job opportunities. Among the multitude of masteries she claimed through the program, Clementina also discovered her talent for tailoring.
Through Outreach-facilitated collaboration with other community members and local leaders, Clementina opened her tailoring shop. Then she got busy. Alongside her assistants, she kept their single sewing machine spinning at a near-continuous pace.
Like nearly every business around the world, the emergence of the COVID-19 epidemic prompted some changes for Clementina’s team. Unlike most businesses, her team’s unique skills were perfectly suited to meet one of her community’s most-pressing new needs. They manufactured and distributed face masks.
Emeldah, another Outreach Zambia superstar, shows off the latest handiwork produced by the tailoring group.
The Zambian government requires masks for all public travel, making the tailors even more in-demand than usual.
The tailoring group boasts a diverse roster of members young and old who combine their skills to ensure the quality and efficiency of their work.
Demand & Supply
Clementina and the 10 of her fellow tailors call themselves the Chinchileni group. As the COVID-19 crisis progressed, they took it upon themselves to reallocate their funds to purchase mask-making materials. Some well-placed stitches was all it took. They used their supply of chitenge (a durable, colorful fabric commonly used throughout Africa) and elastic to make a bounty of effective masks. They made enough for everyone in their community.
And their timing was perfect. The Zambian government had just required all individuals to wear face masks when they venture to markets or other public places. This increased the urgency of their work. They produced 40 masks at an incredible pace, considering they only own one sewing machine.
Members formed an assembly line to maximize production. And each focused on a single step. Some “tacked” mask templates onto fabric using chalk. Then, some handled cutting and folding duties. Others then pinned it into shape in preparation for the sewing machine. This first batch furnished two masks to every family affiliated with her group at no cost.
It was all part of the plan. “Sewing face masks can help keep our community healthy,” Clementina told us. “And it can also help us raise funds to purchase more sewing machines and other tools we will use to meet the demands of production.”
The Fabric of a Community
The Chinchileni group does not have the resources to furnish free masks for everyone in their community. So, members ran the numbers to determine an affordable price for new masks that covers the costs for additional materials. This is how they can continue their work until everyone’s needs are met.
Feeling inspired? Then we have some good news for you! This story is merely the most recent step in Clementina’s remarkable journey. Check out our previous article about her for another mega-dose of miraculous motivation. She’s one of the most incredible women we’ve ever known, and at this point, she’s just getting started.
How to Help
You can have a direct impact on the lives of people like Clementina as they work together to support themselves, their families and their communities during the COVID-19 crisis, and provide hope for all the plans and goals ahead. 100% of all donations go directly and completely to support our work with communities worldwide. Give now!