A Stitch in Time

Brother initiative supports rainforest communities and protects trees

Brother International Europe has extended its partnership with pioneering rainforest sustainability charity, Cool Earth by donating sewing machines to a village in Papua New Guinea.

The JODAN sewing group in the village of Gadaisu was set up to teach young children to sew as a life skill, as well as using it to earn a living. The long-term plan is for the future generation to produce clothes, school uniforms and quilts to sell in the local market.

To secure the livelihoods of the next generation, the sewing group knew how important it is for their skills and knowledge to be passed down to the next generation.

After finding out the group were using two old machines as new ones were too expensive to buy, Brother donated three brand new GS3700 home sewing machines.

Matthew Owen, Director at Cool Earth, said: "We are thrilled that Brother was able to donate something so tangible and meaningful to our Orangerie Bay partnership.

“The sewing machines will enable the women we work alongside to create high-quality products and sell them at higher prices than before. This will allow them to compete in the local market; crucial for strengthening incomes and giving these women independence."

Agnes Bai, from the Gadaisu Village in Papua New Guinea said of the donation: “We are so grateful, we are very happy. Please pass our big thank you to the Brother company that has given us these machines. They are very important for us because they will help us to do our sewing.”

The contribution from the print and technology specialist complements its founding origins as it was established as a manufacturer and exporter of industrial sewing machines in 1908 by brothers Masayoshi and Jitsuichi Yasui.

Jackie Farrelly, PR and Communications Manager at Brother International Europe, said: “We are proud and honoured to continue our partnership with Cool Earth as the work that they do is remarkable.

“When we heard about their latest project with the JODAN group we had to get involved. It reflected our heritage in sewing machines, which we are really passionate about understandably, as it is how Brother began more than 100 years ago.

“The donation will enable the group to teach the younger generation how to sew so they can use the life skill to generate an income. This will have a positive impact on the future of the village by helping to secure livelihoods for the future.”

As Cool Earth’s first supporter, Brother pledged to help protect endangered rainforests and their communities in return for customers across Europe engaging with its free ink cartridge and toner return and recycle programme.

Since 2009, the partnership has helped protect more than 2.7 million trees in Peru, spanning 4,500 acres and 1.07 million trees in Papua New Guinea, spanning nearly 2,000 acres. As a result, there are 1.6 million fewer tonnes of climate warming CO2 in the atmosphere.

Through the partnership, at-risk rainforests and their wealth of biodiversity have been protected. Rainforest communities have been empowered and enabled to build sustainable livelihoods with funding to support growth of produce, such as coffee and cacao. Villages have also been strengthened with resources such as clean water, classroom equipment and medical outposts.