Tiyamike sews COVID-19 protective gear
Malawi, Australia in Southern Africa
Thousands of COVID-19 face masks and protective gear are being made by women from Tiyamike, an SIM sewing programme in Malawi.
SIM Australia members Pete and Jo Ong have served in Malawi with their children for eight years. Pete leads the Mtengo Youth Discipleship Ministry while Jo has pioneered the sewing ministry, Tiyamike, which offers prayer and Bible teaching alongside needlework skills.
Jo said: “On the sewing front, our women immediately began to learn to sew cotton face masks, firstly for themselves and then for their friends and neighbours. Due to the connection with the Malawi Ministry of Health, Tiyamike Sewing was listed as one of the approved places to have masks made and, we were recognised as adhering to WHO standards.
“As a result, we have had many enquiries for masks to be made. So far more than 3,000 masks have been sewn by our women, providing them with much needed income and at the same time helping manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Malawi. These masks were ordered by companies and organisations for distribution as well as for the SIM Malawi partner church, the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC). More masks are in production as we speak.
“With the help of the COVID-19 Response funds from SIM, we were able to purchase fabric to be made into 100 cotton PPE gowns for the local hospital as they are desperately in need of PPE.”
One of Tiyamike’s first responses to COVID-19 was to educate all the vulnerable women who are students or graduates of Tiyamike. Jo also helped educate others about safe hygiene practices.
Pete and Jo were on home assignment in Sydney when the COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented them returning to Malawi. Jo explained: “From my end here in Sydney, I illustrated infographic posters to help educate our women as most existing infographic are either in English or include symbolic graphics which the average under-educated Malawi may not be familiar with.
“God connected us with someone in the Malawi Ministry of Health so that we could have our posters approved for distribution in Malawi. We also made our posters available to other organisations to use and distribute, including being translated into Chiyawo and Portuguese for Mozambique.”
Praise God for the way he has been working through Tiyamike during this time!
The nine-month programme includes classes on basic tailoring and small business skills. Each class begins with prayer and a Bible study. Students receive a sewing machine when they graduate so they can begin their own business.
Graduates can also return to Tiyamike to receive sewing work for which they are paid per item. The ministry offers graduates this opportunity for two years while they are working on slowly building up their own tailoring businesses at home.
• Pray for the women at Tiyamike to demonstrate the love of Christ as they construct necessary masks and gowns for their community.
• Pray that the Lord would continue to help Tiyamike learn biblical values and business skills.
• Pray for Jo and Pete as they lend their assistance from afar.
First appeared on SIM Australia's blog.