In this Asian country women face many systematic barriers to supporting themselves financially and there is significant pressure to marry. The result is that many women who have lost their husbands or are divorced face great hardship, and may be forced into extreme poverty or working in prostitution to survive. Some Christian leaders in the region had observed this and reached out to Worldpartners for help starting a business to give hope and a future to women in this uniquely challenging situation.
With this project, creating a high-quality product was of utmost importance. Emphasizing quality from the very start decreased the competition and allowed for sales overseas. This protected the company from competition with enormous factories which supply low-quality clothing at prices which do not provide a fair wage for the workers. Though we were able to acquire facilities, equipment, and materials suppliers very quickly, it was a challenge to find qualified women to our. Our solution was to hire motivated individuals without experience and train them on the job. It took time, but this method resulted in highly skilled and empowered seamstresses after about 2 years of training and work. The shirts made by the women at the factory were of the same caliber as those sold at high-end European shops, and their first production was sold to a European chain.
The project took off and had an enormous impact. In a very short amount of time there were 80 women working in the factory, providing them with a good income and ability to support themselves and their children. The hope and connection is tangible among these women, as they meet together each morning to read from the Bible and learn memory verses. It is a special blessing for those who cannot read, providing them with access to God’s living word. We have seen changes in the lives of the women as many came to profess Christ and evil spirits were cast out. At this point the factory employees about 200 individuals, mostly women, and hope is proclaimed as they are given community, spiritual nourishment, and financial stability.