Something that began 2 years ago as a seed of an idea has developed into a powerful new collaborative program that will benefit northern schools and communities this September.
I Love First Peoples (ILFP) and Art for Aid (AFA) are working together with Jenome Canada to supply high quality sewing machines, peripherals and material to the Mushuau Innu Natuashish School in Newfoundland and Labrador, to Jens Haven Memorial School in Nain Labrador, the Nasivvik High School in Pond Inlet, and one other school to be determined soon.
Late last year when Josee Lusignan ( ILFP President) reached out to Jenome Canada to speak with them about getting better pricing on student level sewing machines, they took a vested interest in furthering the program, donating 60 machines to the new Sew & Sew program. These sewing machines retail at $900.00 each and will be fitted with child safety guards for the elementary students in the program. Additionally, Jenome Canada, along with I Love First Peoples and Art for Aid, have collected materials and program peripherals to ensure that each school's program has a fully equipped skills lab ready to launch this September. Machines will ship out next month. If we secure economical shipping and have an excess of funds, we will purchase additional machines for other schools as we expand the program.
Our Sew & Sew Ambassador: Internationally recognized Canadian clothing designer Ruth Dukus is the Ambassador for the Sew & Sew Program.
Ruth is a retired, award-winning Canadian fashion designer who in the 1960s was celebrated across North America for her evening wear designs with their luxurious beading and embroidery. She employed Indigenous women for some of the bead work and recalls how Indian Affairs at the time made the process extremely difficult; buried in red tape and endless paperwork, she was forced to abandon her employment strategy, but always hoped that someday she would be able to continue supporting Indigenous women and communities. We couldn't be more delighted to have her support for this groundbreaking program.
The Sewing Machine: These sturdy machines will have far reaching positive effects in the community. Sturdy enough to sew canvas, Jenome’s generous contribution has the potential to enable the repair and building of canvas tents - an essential resource in communities that utilize the land extensively to support the community. In many of these communities, baby clothing is hard to come by and very expensive. The opportunity to sew clothing will also add to the community’s creative fabric. Clothing patterns, tools of the trade, notions and all aspects of the industry are in great demand in the remote north.
Nasivivik once had a thriving clothing maker community at the school, turning out parkas and traditional clothing of impressive quality.
Over time the machines broke down, unable to be repaired. Their last working machine gave up the ghost this year. Thanks to Sew & Sew, the school and local maker community will now have 12-15 new machines available to reignite their sewing program and introduce a new generation of fabric artists, quilters, sewing students and more.
Sew & Sew - Post Launch: Once the program is launched in September, Art for Aid and I Love First Peoples will be visiting at least one of these communities (Covid 19 travel confirmation pending) and we’ll be bringing a clothing designer with us to work with the students and community. Visit our Sew & Sew Comments Forum where you can offer input about this program. It is an opportunity for people who are involved in the program or who are in support of it to offer suggestions, ideas and feedback that can be valuable in the expansion and improvement of this program in the years ahead. Sew & Sew Program Feedback
Thank you! Miigwetch! None of this would be possible without the impressive support we’ve received for this program. There are many people behind the successful launch of Sew & Sew. Big KUDOS to our partner, Jenome Canada, our generous donors, organizations, people who shop at our Art for Aid fundraising store and all the people who share our social media posts allowing us to expand our reach.
The Sew & Sew Skills Lab is a program that serves to support both creative skills learning and community minded thinking. We are so excited to watch it all come together for these 4 schools. We will be providing updates as new information is available.
Art for Aid is a program of I Love First Peoples, a registered Canadian charity.
Our Art for Aid Shop is the vehicle for fundraising that supports our demanding shipping and operations budget. Please visit our store for some very unique gifts.
To make a donation to the Sew and Sew Program visit the program page of
I Love First Peoples. Official tax receipts are issued each February.