Improving Village Life with Every Stitch

La Sierra University

In an effort to improve the living conditions for members of the underdeveloped Ethiopian farming village of Kalaala, the La Sierra University Enactus embarked on a project designed to help meet immediate and long-term needs of this rural community. The team started by installing a solar oven in the area that can feed 500 school children a day, as well as an animal bank that includes bees, goats and cows. Once the village was no longer struggling with basic amenities, the team looked to further enhance opportunities by creating computer lab and a vocational training center designed to provide the women with sewing skills. Next, La Sierra Enactus helped the women turn their sewing skills into a business that produces and sells medical scrubs. Currently more than 250 women have completed an 18-month sewing skills curriculum on 20 sewing machines. Through local partners, they have learned the basics of supply and demand, how to set up an assembly line system and calculate pricing, as well as identify buyers for the scrubs in Africa and the United States. This new business has created 60 jobs, provided a constant stream of income to the village and has shown sustainable results. The team is now partnering with the International Medical Aid Association to build a 1,500 square-foot facility for the women to better manufacture the scrubs.