Patricia earning a living by sewing meri blouses

Some of the meri blouses sewn by Patricia Sui.

FAITH and love is what drives Patricia Sui from Chambri Lakes in East Sepik to provide for her children.
Patricia, 58, is a single mother of four and grandmother of six. Her husband died a few years ago. She supports her family by sewing and selling meri blouses. She is known around the area as Mama.
On Monday night, I told her that I needed an appropriate dress to wear for the funeral service of Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare. Patricia went to work, staying up all night to complete the blouse for me.
It was sewn beautifully. I thanked her and hugged her.
She leant how to sew in 2004 while working for a second-hand shop in Wewak. She started by sewing torn clothes.
“I was given a hand-sewing machine. Then they gave me an electric sewing machine. A woman showed me the basics and left. So I prayed and taught myself how to sew and how to operate the machine. I was determined because my youngest was attending high school and needed clothes, books, bag, stationary, school fee and bus fare.”
If a part of the machine broke, she bought a new part and replaced it. She then wanted to start her own business.
“I started to sew after I noticed that women loved to wear meri blouses. My daughter would get patterns on her phone and showed them to me. I would cut out the pieces needed to put a blouse together.
“Soon I was sewing and customers started coming in.
“My daughter gave me a space in a hotel where I could sell the clothes at the hotel. The demand was high and I continued to push myself to learn new patterns with the assistance of my daughter.
“My daughter would pick out a pattern and show me.
“We always sewed something new”
Her youngest daughter has completed Grade 12 and is now upgrading her marks through FODE.
“I continue to keep the faith and thank God every day for my blessings, for giving me the skills to use a sewing machine to sew blouses.”