Medway Volunteer Workshop in Kent is a local initiative to help a national charity, Tools with a Mission, headquartered in Ipswich



 Sewing Machine record in March 2021


In March 2021 a new record was set, with 77 sewing machines being refurbished by Medway Volunteer Workshop, comfortably beating the previous best of 53.

Tools with a Mission are now loading these into their first container of the year for Zambia.  43% of the items it contains are sewing machines - 179 in fact - many of which will have been refurbished by Medway Volunteer Workshop in Chatham.

Each sewing machine changes a life in Africa, so we are proud of March’s 77 and all the other machines refurbished in previous months.  Here’s a little story from the TWAM website which demonstrates why we are doing this work.


  Hello, I’m Harriet. I’m from Uganda and this is my story...

My family are subsistence farmers (that means they have a small plot of land, no bigger than the average back garden where they grow all the vegetables to feed themselves and hopefully a little more to sell to buy meat) and I did not want to do that. It is very hard and crops are not reliable so there is no opportunity to earn money, so little hope the children could ever go to school. I could only go to a bad school and had to leave that during primary.

I was desperate and became pregnant to a young man who had no prospects and would not marry me. Since then, I have always been alone. I did not want this life for my kids.

So, when I heard about the charity, Mindset Development in Entebbe and that they trained women and girls in tailoring for free, I applied to join. I completed my course in 2016 and won the Graduation Day talent show for the best designed and made dress. TWAM gave me a sewing machine and I started to work on a neighbour’s verandah.

After 2 years, I had saved enough to rent my shop. My life has been changed completely. Now my two boys (aged 14 and 11) are in a good school and both are top of their classes. I am so proud and so pleased I could give them the opportunity I never had.


Just a little reminder: Medway Volunteer Workshop is self-funded, so donations, scrap metal (which we sell) and volunteers are always welcome. 


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