A Start-up from Less Than Scratch

Inside the harshest winter in a century, a small, determined sewing collective is striving to protect its community’s children.

In Eastern Ghouta, an area of rural Damascus long battered by chemical and conventional attacks, four seamstresses and two distributors have undertaken the nearly-impossible: to produce warm clothes for children aged 3 – 9, despite fabric and equipment shortages due to ongoing sieges.

Their ingenious solution to this lack of raw materials is to recycle those at hand, by re-sizing adult clothing to fit kids. The original clothes are donated by locals, and the remade tot-sized versions sold to families for a token amount to cover the costs of generating electricity and paying the staff.

The work provides income for families of those killed, arrested and injured, and helps local families fighting “to save their own and their children’s dignity.” To expand production, the tailors are seeking donations of sewing machines, 0777-watt generators, and sewing supplies.

For more info – malakalhazen8 on Skype

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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