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August 26, 2020

A SEWING group for migrant communities of Horsham is using technology to meet despite COVID-19 restrictions. 

Wimmera Settlement Services’ Harmony Sewing Group and Centre for Participation’s English language program collaborated to bring sewing classes online this month, in response to the latest round of stage three restrictions.

Coronavirus restrictions forced the group to cease meeting in March. 

Phuong Duong Ha led the first session, sharing her mask-making expertise and leading her teacher Cecile Vence and settlement officer Sara Barron through the simple first steps of sewing aface mask.

“It was hard to teach online. Everyone had different skills. Showing how to wind the bobbin was difficult. But it was also fun,” Phuong said.

The Harmony Sewing Group, which formed last year, links migrant communities to volunteers with expertise in craft, patchwork, quilters and other creative avenues. Social connection and community cohesion is at the heart of the project.

Wimmera Development Association’s Settlement Services along with Horsham-based The Maker’s Gallery and Studio and Wimmera Regional Library joined forces to form the group

Ms Barron said participants are making masks for friends and family, though some might also use it as a project for microbusiness course through the Centre for Participation. 

“It’s so important to keep everyone connected as best we can,” Ms Barron said. 

“We will continue to run the sewing group online through the Centre for Participation conversation classes for term three, and may decide to run it as a separate class.

It was amazing to see how far Phuong had come with her sewing skills. We are all very mixed abilities and as a student who is not very good at sewing, it’s not easy to follow instructions online. However,some of the women actually managed to make a mask.” 

WDA Settlement Services and the state government fund Harmony Sewing Group.Paw Po sewing group at Nhill donated sewing machines to the Horsham group. 

Ms Barron said people wanting more information about the Harmony Sewing Group, or wanting information about activities to support migrants in the Wimmera SouthernMallee, could phone her on 5381 6504