Jacqueline, Fabienne, Kamala and the Wep group of women (25 participants altogether)


Month of February 2014

First session: from Thursday, January 30 to Monday, February 3, 12 participants

Second session: from Wednesday, February 5 to Tuesday, February 11, 6 members of the previous group, 7 new participants.

Third session: from Wednesday, February 12 to Sunday, February 16: 11 participants from the first two groups, 9 new recruits.

  • OUR AIM:

The initial purpose of this workshop was, on the one hand, the manufacturing of bracelets and necklaces initiated by Jackie, on the other hand the teaching by Fabienne of certain basic principles of sewing.

Concurrently, I also wished to stress the importance of fastidious workmanship with a view to answering the demands and requirements of a Western clientele.

Acquiring a degree of autonomy , nurturing the wish to achieve a faultless job and the pleasure of inventing, testing, creating, daring to draw away from the usual patterns – those were to my mind some of the trails our trainees needed to explore for their project to endure .

The Pearl workshop, due to the choice of participants, was held during the second session with the 6 new participants and Jackie.

The sewing workshop was held from the first day to the last, with Fabienne assisted by Jackie and Kamala.

The idea was to stress basic technical questions regarding materials, the need for precise tracing from a pattern, cutting and machine assembly with maximum precision.

We found that the trainees were not familiar with those notions.

The use of such tools as rulers and pins required quite an effort of concentration on their part.

The selected models were basic (rectangular purses) and entailed a bunch of difficulties that allowed us to progress steadily: knowledge of the available materials, tracing, cutting and assembly of the lined purses, embroidery stitches for the finishes, embroidered and pearly decoration, inclusion of multiple inside pockets. During the last week, the « old-timers » approached the manufacturing of different objects that entailed other technical difficulties (hanger covers, pinafores and dish-caddies).




It should be emphasized that all materials were bought locally, in Kathmandu, Tawal and Tajimrang.




The building: located in height, spacious, well-lit thanks to a great number of windows. That such a place exists is indeed a great asset, probably WEP’s only opportunity for group work.

A second adjacent room could be used (storage space, workshop for the crafting of jewellery or bamboo artefacts…)

The building is still lacking a power source, hence a few problems linked to the impossible use of an electric iron, the only available ones need to be loaded with hot coals, but wood is scarce, so of course keeping a fire going is out of the question.

The next workshop-promoted project, as soon as the means allow, could be the implementing of toilets in the vicinity.


The sewing machines: We all remember the mechanical sewing machines from the early years of the last century.

WEP’s machines were designed on those lines, but are a far cry from displaying the same technical qualities.

Their adjustment is awkward and they are lacking in precision. Nevertheless, most of the women are familiar with them and are able to make the most and best of them.

They are also used to their massive, magnificent scissors, but they very quickly adopted the two light pairs we had brought with us, with their fine, precise blades!

A great step forward was achieved in favour of proper working conditions when 3 large tables built by the team of carpenters were brought into the workshop, together with a large storage shelf.


The women who attended our workshop really took their training to heart – ever ready and willing, deeply involved, enthusiastic and punctual. They made effective progress and were always in demand of further learning experience. Their production was exceptional, given the short time spent together: they completed 250 sewing items and 150 pieces of jewellery.