Building Businesses: Hope House Projects

Naomi Booth :: Sunday 30th January 2022 :: This Story

The Beginning

In 2015 Ocean Stars was contacted by a TV company who were making a programme about business entrepreneurs and were looking for charities to benefit from the project.

As Jess Butcher MBE explains:

Jess Butcher MBE In November 2015 I was privileged enough to be invited on one of the biggest and most eye-opening adventures of my life. I was selected to get involved in the filming of an episode for the National Geographic documentary series, 'Undercover Angel' - a format designed to drop successful business entrepreneurs into underprivileged areas around the globe in the hope that they could use their business experience and means to initiate and set-up sustainable projects to help support and develop struggling communities.

Hope House in 2015

As part of the project, Jess sourced an unused community building and funded its transformation through refurbishing the building and equipping it with sewing machines and computers – establishing Hope House. A space for local women to come and learn new skills and to grow in confidence to set up their own businesses and earn a living. All this was done in 4 days and now 7 years later Hope House is the hub of the community in the village of Ampilanthurai.

Hope House in 2022

Over 200 ladies in the local community have learnt to sew and use sewing machines. Some women have gone on to set up their own sewing businesses. Others have managed to get jobs in a large garment factory which opened up nearby. As well as sewing classes local people have been able to follow computer classes and learn skills needed for the workplace.

Hope House 2

Following the success of Hope House 1, Hope House 2 was set up in 2018 in the village of Karaveddy. Women enrol for 6-month classes at a local community centre and then go on to set up their own sewing business, making their own clothes and getting employment at the local garment factory.

Hope House Stories

Manchula, the Sewing teacher in Ampilanthurai Hope houseHi, I am Manchula, and I work as the Sewing teacher in Ampilanthurai Hope house. I started my career because of family illness, and we did not have money to buy clothes. I decided to learn to sew clothes for myself and my family. I walked 5 kilometres to follow a sewing class for six months. After that with sponsorship from the children's fund, I did a twelve-day training course at the Ampilanthurai Rural Development Association Building where I learnt how to sew in a variety of new designs. After that, I joined as a sewing teacher in Ampilanthurai Hope House in 2020. I get 10,000LKR in every month. This income is very useful to my family and my children's education.  Many thanks to Ampilanthurai Hope House and Ocean stars Lanka AND Jess Butcher for giving me hope and an income to support my family. I love my job.

Picture: /files/blog/446/w288/img-1105%20%281%29.jpgWe followed a six-month sewing course in 2018 at Hope House 1. The skills we learnt helped us with applying for jobs at the local Brandix garment factory. We would never have got these jobs and been able to earn a good wage if we did not attend the Hope House sewing courses. Our future is now secure, and we bring money home for our children. We work 10-hour shifts, but we all work together and travel by bus together, so we are very happy. Thank you very much Ocean Stars Lanka, UK, and Hope House for changing our lives.

following six-month sewing course in Ampilanthurai hope houseHi, I am Sharmila. I live in Ampilanthurai. I am currently following six-month sewing course in Ampilanthurai hope house. At first, I was not really interested in sewing but my mother forced me to do this course as she thought I would enjoy it. Now having followed the course for four months I really understand the value of this course and learning a new skill, and I have developed a passion for sewing. This is a good way for me to earn money and for me to do my own business. Our sewing teacher is very helpful to me, she teaches me very patiently. In the future, I would like to open a small sewing shop in our area with my friends.