The Sewing Machine Project

Help raise money for sewing machines in Ghana to provide the opportunity for marginalized women to learn a lifeskill and to escape the cycle of poverty.

About the project (COMPLETED! Thank you everyone!)

Pictures of Margaret, the girls, and their new sewing machines:

Thank you everyone for your generous donations, for putting these strangers above yourself, and for showing the world that good people are all around. You rule.


"Without the machine, they can't learn how to sew.. so we save small small to buy more," said Margaret Alhassan.

Margaret owns a humble textile shop in Tamale, a multi-religious, culturally diverse district in the Northern region of Ghana. Unfortunately, it is also one of the poorest regions in Ghana, caught in the cycle of endemic poverty.

Margaret also teaches marginalized and impoverished women how to sew. Sometimes, she picks them off the streets. 

"I wish to teach more girls, but it's expensive," she said. It takes 2 to 3 years before the girls are able to appropriate the necessary skills and afford their own sewing machines. When they 'graduate' from Margaret's class, they are able to make a sustainable living and provide for their families. 

The Sewing Machine Project hopes to raise funds to provide Margaret with more sewing machines so that she will be able to empower more women. At the same time, she is alleviating poverty one individual at a time. A second hand manual sewing machine in Ghana costs USD75-100 and I hope to provide Margaret with 10 - 12 more sewing machines.

No amount is too little in the fight against poverty. Every small token will be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you.

(Please note that as Paypal does not operate in Ghana, nor does Margaret have constant internet access, all donations will first go into my bank account. At the end of the campaign I will then wire transfer it to Margaret's bank account in Ghana and post a record of the transactions online. When Margaret purchases the sewing machines, I will ask a Ghanian friend to take a photo of it and send it to me. I understand that this requires a huge level of trust, and I wish there was a simpler and more straightforward way to crowd source for funds over the internet but there is not, and I am not letting that stop me from trying. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any enquiries : ) 

Who am I?

My name is Wanfong, and I am an over-enthused nobody marinating in my own naïve idealism that the world can be made a better place if everyone was more aware, less nonchalant, and more willing to share.

Currently, I am an undergrad student at the University of Cambridge reading Politics, Psychology and Sociology.

In the summer of 2013 I embarked on a solo adventure to Ghana which swept me off my feet. 

You can watch my journey here:

Frustration at the lack of proper governmental action coupled with disgust at the blatant exploitation by other countries soon followed, and for a while I was resplendent in my learned helplessness. I convinced myself that I was insignificant because what Ghana really needs is political and structural change which I cannot provide.

Then I fell terribly ill for a week (for two nights I assured myself that if I didn’t make it, at least I had lived a fruitful life) which put everything into perspective – even if all I am able to help is one person, then I'm going to do it.

Now I'm just trying my best to make that happen. 

But this is not my story. This is theirs. I am a nobody who wants to help. Please, help me help them.

Website: www.theghanainitiative.com

Contact: wanfongwoo@gmail.com


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