Benan Grams

Benan Grams (Ain Leuh Weavers Cooperative): Benan is a Syrian national, fluent in Arabic, English, and German. Benan earned a BA degree in International Business at the Georg-Simon-ohm University for Applied Sciences in 2010, followed by a Master's Degree in Development Economics and International Studies from the Friedrich Alexander University in Germany in 2012. At the time of her fellowship Benan was studying for a Master’s Degree at the Arab Studies program, Georgetown University. After her fellowship, Benan wrote: "The ladies are great. Not only are they hard-working women but they are also open to new suggestions and adjustments. We had fun working together especially in shooting the pictures to make the catalog, even children and participating and helping. They have a lively working environment here."



Girl up solidarity from Pyle in Maryland to Ain Leuh With the new sewing machine, No more dependence, We do it all!

12 Jul

Girl up solidarity from Pyle in Maryland to Ain Leuh in Morocco
With the new sewing machine,
No more dependence,
We do it all!

Setting up the machine

The machine has arrived to the cooperative, and all thanks go to the members of Girl up at the Pyle Middle School in Maryland led by Anna McGuire. A role-model of loving, hardworking and dedicated little ladies, a great promise for a fabulous future. The committed students of the Pyle Middle school in Maryland have helped the women of the cooperative of Ain Leuh buy a new basting/sewing machine. With a lot of fun and great team-work Anna and her friends baked cookies, set up a stand and sold these cookies to raise the money that enabled us here in Morocco to buy a basting/sewing machine for the cooperative. Some of the girls, who knew stitching, even taught the woman a face mask sewing pattern, encouraging the use of face masks and reducing airborne diseases in the community. 

When I told the weavers about the source of money not only were they touched but were also very impressed by the determination and great organization of our little friends. Anna and her group, I want to heartedly thank you on behalf of the weavers of Ain Leuh. Thank you!

Girl up members sell cookies for Ain Leuh

The machine is not a luxury, it is a necessity for the work of the cooperative. Its absence from the working place caused the weavers to be dependent on others. Products such as scarves and purses that need to be cut and basted had to be piled up and taken to various tailors who possessed the needed machines to baste them. Most of the time, these tailors have enough to do and the work of our weavers is not their priority.When they dedicate little time to do them, you can imagine the quality of their work. Pretty valuable work loses its value with bad finishing and the weavers are forced to sell their products undervalued.

You can bet that once an item reaches the store of a tailor it will not leave it in less than a month. For the easy job of basting the sides of a scarf this is a lot of time! But with the new machine our weavers are independent! Once an item has been woven and needs to be cut and basted, it will also be finished within the walls of the cooperative and with the same quality the weavers care to deliver.

Mohammed and I overtook the work of assembling the machine, it was fun but also a challenge. We did not have a catalog of instructions and with our “great experience in assembling sewing machines” we did not know how the machine should look like after assembling. Yet we made it!! We were proud of ourselves until we pushed the “On” button, the motor worked but the machine did not sew!

Our next destination was a tailor’s shop in the village. When we asked him to help us, he promised to help and he kept his promise. On the same day in the afternoon the tailor, with the weavers and ourselves surrounded him, did the final touches and he indeed got the machine to run and sew properly. Next week, he will come over to the cooperative to teach the women how to use and maintain the machine in the framework of a two-days workshop.

the tailor helping setting up the machine

Now our ladies can baste their own products. No more waiting, no more dependence on others, no more devaluation of very valuable products! We do it by ourselves.Thank you Anna and thanks to your team of Girl-up at the Pyle Middle School in Maryland, we are proud of you!

The tailor teaching how to use the basting machine

Posted By Benan Grams

Posted Jul 12th, 2013

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