It has taken the 20 sewing machines donated by local residents to the Fernhurst
Centreís ĎMachines for Malawií Appeal three years to make the trip from Fernhurst
to the village of Zomba in Malawi but their arrival has caused quite a stir. In May
2016 the Centre put the call out for unused and unwanted sewing machines.
Trustee Antonia Plantís daughter had recently volunteered at a rural school in
Malawi, where subsistence living is the norm and employment is hard to come by.
The local ladies were keen to learn tailoring skills which would enable them to
earn a living and make clothes for their families. The Fernhurst Centre could
never have predicted how successful the appeal would be (or how heavy those
old fashioned sewing machines were).
The 20 machines collected from the Fernhurst and Haslemere area came in all
shapes and sizes and dated from the 1920ís to the 1950ís, electric and manual, in
perfect working order or covered in dust and cobwebs. At the same time, laptops
and mobile phones, refurbished free of charge by Microsoft, were also collected
and space on a container given by a shipping company. UK Charity The Sparkle
Foundation oversaw the long journey and many customs checks and border
crossings until the palletís arrival in Zomba where it was unpacked by astonished
and delighted villagers.