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Thunder Bay charity sends sewing machines to El Salvador (3 Photos)

Villagers learn how to sew in a new community centre.

THUNDER BAY — A city-based charity known for collecting medical equipment for third-world hospitals has expanded its overseas outreach to help people make clothing.

An announcement from Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity says the project was inspired in part by the Chinese proverb "If you give a person a fish, you have fed them for a day. But if you teach them to fish, you have fed them for life."

MEMO said its initiative uses the same concept: "If you give someone a shirt, you have dressed them for awhile. But if you teach them to sew, you have clothed them for life."

The charity provides sewing machines, sewing material and fabric for a nine-month sewing course for unemployed residents of Tutulepeque, El Salvador.

It's a remote village where Cecilia Huezo of Thunder Bay has developed a community centre where the programming includes a sewing school.

One of 16 students there was a destitute man who now has a cottage industry on the front porch of his new 600-square-foot prefabricated steel home, built by villagers and by volunteers from Alberta.

Huezo's brother Manuel, who also lives in Thunder Bay and is a sewing machine mechanic, recently visited Tutulepeque to show the students how to maintain their machines.

Seven machines were supplied recently by Thunder Bay's Irene Juvsik after she had them refurbished for the next class of sewing school students.

They arrived in El Salvador in an ocean container on September l along with hospital furnishings and supplies collected by MEMO.



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