Windsor

Sewing cooperative could create jobs one stitch at a time

The Windsor Workers Education Centre has been teaching a small group of women how to sew for the past year in order to give participants new skills.

Group launches fundraising campaign to create entrepreneurial worker cooperative

Israel Abraham says a sewing cooperative would allow her to gain the skills she needs to find work in Windsor. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

A Windsor sewing group is looking to drum up a small pot of cash that could potentially lead to the creation of new jobs for residents one stitch at a time.

The Windsor Workers Education Centre has been teaching a small group of women how to sew for the past year in order to give participants new skills.

That same group now wants to step up the training to fashion a worker cooperative that the members will run, learning even more valuable skills like handling finances and running meetings.

Israel Abraham, who immigrated from Ethiopia more than 15 years ago, has been part of the Straight Lines Sewing Collective. She wants to turn her new skills into a job, which she says is better than going back to school and taking on huge financial debt.

Narvilyn is a member of the sewing collective that works out of the Windsor Workers' Education Centre. ( © 2016 Douglas MacLellan)

"I want to be able to provide for my children," she said. "Without us owing money, we'll be able to help ourselves and also the community."

The collective launched a GoFundMe fundraising campaign with the goal of bringing in $2,000, which will pay for a teacher to conduct a 30-hour course for the students.

Mireille Coral is trying to raise funding to train a group of Windsorites how to sew. The concept is part of a proposed cooperative that aims to give participants valuable business skills that will help them find jobs. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

Mireille Coral, who volunteers at the education centre, says the training will allow the members to gain valuable skills.

"You — with the other members of the cooperative — will be running that business, making decisions that benefit you," she told CBC News.

Both women and men have already expressed interest in taking the new course.