Have you ever walked by All Saints longing for the sewing machines in the window more than the clothes? Well, Hubert* actually has one and his life depends on it…
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, many families are still effected by localised violence as the country recovers from years of disruption. Hubert lives in the Kibati camp, where around 55,000 people have fled in search of safety.
Before he and his family fled their home, they made sure to take one important item with them – their sewing machine.
The physical embodiment of ‘make do and mend’ Hubert salvages whatever material he can find to fix damaged clothes for a small fee. As more and more people join the camp after fleeing recent conflicts, Hubert has more people to help.
But he doesn’t make a living wage.
“Business is not good here because people have nothing. I charge very little, 100 Congolese francs (approx 8p) for my services but it is at least enough to make sure my wife, my two children and my mum all eat once a day.”
Hubert has already faced the camp without his sewing machine, when he originally came their for sanctuary a few years ago. “I knew I had to take it with me, how else would I put food on the table? I was here back in 2009 without any means to survive and I did not want to put my family in this situation again”
His dangerous journey to Kibati camp was made all the more so by carrying such bulky equipment, but this is all he has to ensure his family have a chance.
Hubert isn’t the only one who relies on their trusty Singer machine. The camp is dotted with tailors trying to make a little money to survive.
What is Oxfam doing?
Encouraging international political engagement is key to Oxfam’s continued support for the Democratic Republic of Congo. That’s why you’re reading this article now and why many other fashion bloggers are spreading the message too.
The good news is that it’s working. Whilst they do still need your help, international deals have been made to resolve conflict and insecurity in places such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
What can you do?
If you click the green badge above, you can make a regular donation to Oxfam, which will help provide clean water and sanitation to thousands of families worldwide.
The next time you pass All Saints, think not of the pricey clothing inside but think of the Singer sewing machines in Kibati camp. Think of the people you could help if you missed one item from your shopping basket that day and donated the money to Oxfam instead.