Project Stitch was founded by Dr Joanna Cherry and Physiotherapist Scott Gillenwater in 2012 at Hopital Bernard Mevs in Port au Prince, Haiti. We are a sewing programme founded to empower physically challenged Haitians through education and hands on teaching.
We aim to provide vocational skills to our participants and thus allow them to reintegrate and thrive in their local communities.
Disability can be extremely isolating in the developed world but in Haiti it can completely cut off a person from the world around them. After spending time working on the medical side of Spinal Cord Injury at Hopital Bernard Mevs, in Port au Prince, Haiti, Jo and Scott realized that any approach to changing the lives the patients and their perception by the Haitian people would need to involve an activity that not only reinforced the patients self esteem but also let them regain their place in an ever developing, post disaster society. Project Stitch was created to provide the patients with the resources necessary to become independent and productive members of society.
Our first class was started thanks to a grant from the Christopher Reeves Foundation secured by SCI Haiti.
Our first graduates were able to keep their machines thanks to a donation by Team Broken Earth – who we are working with to make this a long term sustainable project.
Our project is designed to give physically challenged Haitians and their relatives means of generating a steady income. We have recently received contracts from local businesses and the profits from these projects are used for continuing the programme but also to provide income for the participants. We aim to provide products to the local community that are expertly crafted whist being value for money.
Our project so far has helped two under served groups in Haiti; Wheelchair users and arm amputees and we hope to continue providing for these people. We are proud to have a local team responsible for the day to day running of the programme as well as a fantastic instructor who has taught our participants the theories behind tailoring as well as the practical aspects of the trade.