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Susan lives in Kalulushi, one of the poorest townships on the outskirts of Kitwe, Zambia. Kitwe was once a thriving mining town, but with the collapse of copper prices in 2016, it has entered a period of steady decline.

A woman with a treadle sewing machine
Susan working on a commission for a customer

Susan and her young family were early casualties, as she found herself alone trying to raise four young children. This was when she heard of the newly formed group called Women of Valour.


She tells us: “I was really struggling. I was in a terrible state and feared my children would be displaced as I could not even manage to look after myself. I was struggling and could not even buy food. I feared my children would become street kids.”


But everything changed when she joined Women of Valour.


She continues: “I trained in 2016. I had no idea how to tailor before I got my sewing machine, but now I can make three things every day and support my family. I have rented space outside this shop since I got my machine in 2017. There is a lot of traffic so I can get lots of business. I make shirts and dresses and do repairs.”

A group of women standing in front of a brick building
Members of the Women of Valour group where Susan trained

And what matters for Susan is the impact. Instead of fearing her children entering street gangs and turning to crime, all four are at school, well-fed, and live securely in a nice home.


All have good futures to look forward to and the comfort of knowing their mother is cared for by the group. The training centre is literally across the road from Susan.


This is the long-term impact of tools. The treadle sewing machine Susan received in 2017 is still going strong, and there is no doubt in her mind that she is a Woman of Valour. We couldn’t agree more.


 

Just £25 could cover the costs of collecting, refurbishing, and packing a sewing machine for a trainee just like Susan. You could give a vulnerable person the tools that they need to transform their life and feed their family.


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We take a wide variety of tools. Click the button above for the full list of accepted tools, and to find your nearest local collector or drop-off point.

Our work is mostly done by volunteers, whether that's driving around collecting tools, refurbishing them, or helping out in the office. Have a look at our roles.

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