Today we published the new website for an exciting new venture here in Kibogora! You may want to check it out, so I'll post it here, right where you can't miss it!
Seka Handbags is a wonderful group of ladies who have learned how to sew this year, and who are making the most delightful bags and purses you have ever seen! To learn more about Seka, how it started, all about the seamstresses and most importantly, how you can get your hands on one or more of these fabulous bags, be sure to visit our site. And many thanks to my niece, Gena Ward, and to my daughter, Hannah Berg, for inventoring all our bags and creating the website for me!
After looking at the website, if you are interested in helping to sell these purses, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, OR by commenting under this post.
Below is an excerpt from an email I sent to our email list (if you want to join that, please email me as well!), describing more about this new facet of our ministry.
Also, big news! We relocate to Kenya in the next couple of weeks! The email below will tell more about that as well.......
From the email......
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Be a Missionary from Home!
Dear friends,This is Linda, and I am writing to the WOMEN on our mailing list ~ so if you're a guy - unless you are a guy with a lot of creative flair, who happens to have a bunch of awesome girl friends - feel free to ignore this email from the Bergs.
We are not sure that we have explained this fully or clearly, but we Bergs are about to make a big move to Kenya. Long story short - we are continuing our medical mission, but Tim will now be TRAINING the next generation of General Surgeons instead of working as one here in Rwanda - at least for a while. I will also be working in Kenya. I will teach Senior English this coming school year at Sam and Ruthie's school, Rift Valley Academy. Tim's new workplace is only a 5 minute walk from their school, so we can live with our highschoolers again! Deste will attend Kindergarten at Rift Valley Academy as well. We move in under two weeks. Yes, our heads are spinning with all the transitions!
Meanwhile, as excited as we are about this move, we are also heart-broken about leaving Rwanda. One of the most heart-wrenching things about leaving (just after our sadness that as of yet, no surgeon is scheduled to take Tim's place at the hospital which will leave many Rwandans in need of surgical care without anyone to operate on them) is leaving my sewing co-op, Seka Handbags.
The ladies who make up this co-op have lived more painful lives than any of us in America can even comprehend. Seriously. These are the poorest of the poor - the uneducated, the orphan, the widow, those with zero options, no hope, no chances.
They have come from not knowing how to even thread a sewing machine to being able to produce truly beautiful handbags. Truly Beautiful!
But, as with any new business, it will be a while before we are making a profit. A big need I have is to find a market in America to sell these bags.
I sent an email before, and had responses. However, as fast as life is going, I've lost track of who volunteered to help - so I'm wondering if you'd tell me again. (And, please forgive my scatter-brained self!)
Also, I need help in two specific ways. I need about 15 women (or more! But at least 15!) who would agree to be "Seka Sellers" - that is, who would agree to have a Purse Party, invite friends over, tell the Seka Story, and see if anyone wants to buy some beautiful purses or gym bags. You won't have to pay for the purses ahead of time, and can send the money to us, along with any unsold bags, within 3 weeks of receiving them. (You'll mail to an American address.) And you can have one purse for free for your efforts!
If you want to do this, please email me and send me your mailing address for where to mail your bags! You will receive them in about 2 - 3 weeks!
Very soon, we will have a website up for you to read all about it. Thanks in advance. I am praying that at least 15 wonderful women will agree to be a "Missionary from Home" and will agree to host a Seka Purse Party! (Prices range from $5 - $45)
The second way you can help would be to temporarily support our work with Seka. Our overhead is $2,000 a month. (This includes salaries for 11 people, rent of our building, electricity, night guard, and all the fabric and other sewing materials to make the bags.) If we could maybe receive donations close to that for three to six months, it would help a lot as we try to get our feet off the ground. If you could make any donations just for this project, we would need to have them mailed to the Rwanda Benevolence Fund at First United Methodist Church, 321 Thompson Drive, Kerrville, TX 78028. Please specify the donation is for Seka Handbag Startup Fund. Thank you!
If you think a little sewing co-op can't really make a difference, please thing again. Here is an example from just last night. I was two days late to come and buy the handbags the ladies had made, because we ourselves were short on money. A friend came to tell me that two of the ladies and their children were very hungry. "They have not eaten at all today." Here I was, all warm and comfortable in my home, and these poor ladies - mamas and their children! - were going hungry on my watch!
It was already dark, so I could not go out alone. I called a student friend of ours, Pacifique, and he came and escorted my niece and me to the ladies homes. We stopped along the way to buy rice, beans, salt and oil from a little store, just as it was closing, and delivered it to our friends. Their children were so happy! I was ashamed that I'd been late to make my purchases. I do not want that to happen again. Selling these bags truly means the difference between eating and not eating, between attending elementary school and not attending, between having clothes and not, for these ladies and their children. Each morning, a pastor friend brings a Bible message of hope to the ladies, and they sing and pray together. Also, we provide tea and bread each morning (newly installed practice). And starting September 1, I have hired a student to teach them English for one hour each day. Your support of this program will make all the difference in the lives of these widows and orphan ladies, and to their children (20 children in all).
Thanks for reading this. May God Bless you.