Sewing Hope in Batam


Equipping ibus with sewing skills & livelihood opportunities

Overview

Sekolah Misi Bagi Bangsa (MBB) originated in a squatter compound called Sri Binti Tanjung Uncang in July 2009. Founded by Principal Everly and his wife, Jeguelin, the school was conceptualised when the couple felt they had a life calling to help underprivileged children receive an education. Their aim was to support the government’s programme to raise national education standards and give parents an alternative to regular public schools.

The principal Jegueline addressing the students in their new school compound

They recognised that many parents are unable to afford the monthly school fees of S$7 due to the lack of employment opportunities in Batam with the decline of the shipping industry. Hence, plans to set up a sewing establishment was initiated where mothers can learn how to sew school uniforms, which can then be supplied to MBB and other local schools. The men will also have their part to play by taking charge of the packing and distribution side.

Areas of work:

  • Skills training of mamas
  • Improvement of physical workspace and mini-library, games corner for the children
  • Home visits and interviews with families
  • A website to document the enterprise for future investors and clients (still in construction)
  • Activities to engage the children
  • Financial literacy and leadership training for mamas (in the future)

Partners involved in this project apart from MBB:

  1. Transformational Business Network, an non-for-profit organisation that believes in using businesses with social impact to alleviate poverty in Southeast Asia
  2. Actxplorer came on board in the planning, and is a liaison with potential partners. We reached out to,
  3. Singapore Management University to involve their students in running the business. This is a long term overseas VIA project for the students, who are involved heavily in the business planning (sourcing out raw materials, generators, different types of sewing machines, and marketing) and social development of the mothers & their families. The students spent 2 weeks in the field (Dec 2017) interviewing and documenting the stories of the families, improving the physical environment of the sewing workshop, and developing relationships with the community.

This is an ongoing project.