The old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
CPR-3, a faith-based organization that serves in crisis and poverty through relief and development, is striving to do just that.
“My mom taught me how to sew when I was growing up,” said Erin Cooper, who is creative director at CPR-3, along with her duties as assistant coordinator for Momentum Youth Conference at CE National. She used those skills the first week of May while teaching a sewing clinic to Haitian women. Her mother, Martha Cooper, and sister Laura Biltz, joined her.
Cooper (pictured at right), her family, and a few others partnered with Grace Church in Bercy, Haiti, to host the clinic at the Sant Mouvman Guest House, the center of movement for CPR-3 in Haiti. Cooper said about 11 women showed up consistently over the duration of the clinic and learned how to sew beautiful, sturdy handbags of out fabric.
“Our main purpose was to teach a sustainable skill,” she explained. “It’s something CPR-3 really strives to do — not just give handouts.
“By teaching sewing classes, we’re allowing women to be able to have that skill to mend or make things to sell on their own.”
By the end of the clinic, the clinic’s hosts had identified three women who had a natural skill for sewing and leadership.
“We asked those three women if they wanted to head up the endeavor once we were gone,” said Cooper. With this model of micro-enterprise, the ladies can make the bags on their own and receive a share of the profit, while the rest goes to buy more fabric to keep their business running.
The handbags that were made by the clinic attendees in May were sold at Momentum Youth Conference this year. Cooper is excited to see what God does in the future through the initiative and through CPR-3.
“The Lord has captured my heart for that country and the work He is doing there. The development of the CPR-3 Center has helped to establish relationships with people, create jobs and a sustainable model. People are starting to trust CPR-3, wanting to come to church, and see what we’re all about.”
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.