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Seamstress (64) offers sewing classes

Funeka Valashiya believes sewing has been around for centuries, and is a skill passed down from generation to generation.

Tsakani – Funeka Valashiya (64) is a seamstress who started a project in Rockville that offers sewing lessons to people of all ages. Valashiya said sewing is a great way to express creativity.

“The skill allows everyone to use their imagination to create one-of-a-kind pieces. You can sew clothes that reflect your style or décor that reflects your taste. You can sew toys for your children or grandchildren or gifts for friends and family.

“As well as being creative and economical, sewing can be a therapeutic hobby. The repetitive motion of sewing can be relaxing and is a great way to de-stress or relieve anxiety,” said Valashiya.

Valashiya said her passion for sewing started at a young age.

“I may not recall the correct age when I started sewing, but I was still in school. We had a subject called ‘Needlework and Clothing’. This class taught me everything to do with sewing, from sewing in a button to repairing a torn shirt.

“I figured the best way to use my passion was to make and sell crotched and sewn items. I realised my idea would help me express myself through the needle while making money because sewing is a great way to express individuality, save money on clothes, and learn new skills.

“I used to crochet scarves, booties, socks and jerseys and sell them at a clinic close to where I stayed then.

“I made dolls and other playing items and sold them to my peers. I would easily repair torn items, use my creativity to make sense of everything I crotched,” said Valashiya.

Valashiya said she started sewing lessons in her community because of the gaps she noticed.

“I noticed that elderly people do not have hobbies. It gets boring to do house chores and later scroll on TV with nothing better to do for the rest of the day.

“I also noticed how high the unemployment rate is and how the youth has resorted to substance abuse, crime and selling illegal things.

“I thought offering sewing lessons would help those who want to learn new skills, those who want to start their own businesses and those who want to explore a new world of work. And what better way to do that than through my passion? I then decided to give sewing lessons,” added Valashiya.

Because they face struggles daily, Valashiya said she keeps her classes as small as possible.

“I keep my sewing classes at a minimum number, and they run for six months. Every after six months, I take a new group of six or eight people.

“The reason for this is because I do not have enough space to cater for a larger number of people,” she said.

Valashiya said her classes have also experienced a shortage of basic necessities.

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“I bear in mind that most of my students do not have money to buy sewing material. We struggle with sewing materials such as needles, threads, fabric and machinery.

“Sewing machinery requires regular maintenance, but we do not have money to pay for repairs,” she said.

Valashiya added that the project is open to donations.

“Small donations from the public would contribute dearly to this project. We need a bigger venue to accommodate larger groups; there is a greater need for sewing machines and basic materials.

“Such donations would benefit this project beautifully. I plead with the community to help where possible,” added Valashiya.

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