A £6000 turnover might not sound much to most businesses, but to Stitch Sainte Luce its the highest turnover in its nine year history and represents an
important income stream for the 96 women involved.
Stitch Sainte Luce is a women’s Cooperative in Madagascar, supported by the charity SEED Madagascar, which has taught embroidery, as well as business skills in maths, sales and English language, to over 100 women, so that they can produce and sell the products to help bring an income to families in the poorest country, according to the World Bank, in the world.
Stitch Sainte Luce has brought much more than an income stream to the women involved in the project and the craft skills they have learnt have also
helped to empower them and given them hope for the future. The women have always been encouraged to develop their own style, rather than being
pushed towards Western designs, helping to build their self-confidence and allowing them to progress as artists. Many of the women are exceptionally
creative and through collaborative pieces, where several women work on the same article, the Cooperative produces highly detailed and delicate pieces of artwork that are desired by a whole range of customers – from interior designers, schools, African collectors, fellow embroiderers and artists. The
result is that these women not only now create one of a kind pieces of art, but have built a closer women’s community, have closed the gender income gap within their households and have established lifelong skills that ensure financial stability.
Whilst 2020’s turnover, of just over £6000, may not seem like a lot, it is important to bear in mind that almost 80% of the population in Madagascar lives on less than £1.40 per day and that Coronavirus and drought has hit the country extremely hard, putting in on the verge of a major
famine. The money raised through the Cooperative is an incredibly important income stream for the women involved and members have reported that, with their earnings from Stitch sales, they have been able to buy new clothes for their children, pay for books and pens for school and have been
able to visit the local health clinic when in need of medical attention, all of which are often a luxury for the rural communities of Madagascar.