Welsh charity, Tools for Self Reliance Cymru (TSFR Cymru) have been fixing old tools and sewing machines for 25 years. The repaired tools are sent to Tanzania where they work with local artisans to support them with tools and help them set up their own businesses.
Their new workshop in Abergavenny is becoming an established sewing machine repair workshop, where old defunct machines are turned into well-oiled and working machines by a group of hardy volunteers.
James Nyakwibata, one of the recipients of the machines in Tanzania said: “The support I got from TFSR Cymru and their partner organisation has totally changed my life and even my family feels it. All my children are now going to school, and I am now able to buy new clothes for all my family members during Christmas. But besides all these I have never seen people who kept their promises as these TFSR Cymru people.”
However, TSFR Cymru are on the lookout for volunteers to help them make a difference and keep up with the influx of old machines that can often take days to fix. The challenge they have set themselves is around 200 machines a year.
Tony Care of Tools for Self Reliance Cymru explains: “Our focus is to provide sewing machines for the women’s groups. The women in the Tanga region are at the heart of the community and supporting them to set up tailoring businesses with our refurbished machines will bring a much-needed added income to these communities.
“If you would like to get involved or develop new skills, please get in touch with us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org”
The workshop was set up with support of Hub Cymru Africa through funding from the Welsh Government.
Hannah Sheppard, Development Manager at Hub Cymru Africa said: “Tools for Self Reliance have a proven track record for helping upskill volunteers in Wales and provide them will excellent skills as well as supporting artisans in Tanzania, giving them the much-needed opportunities to improve their own lives. One of these machines alone is enough to create a small business.
“Minimising our waste is a very current topic and TSFR Cymru have been leading the way in upcycling old tools for many years, some of the machines they fix are over 100 years old!”