I press the fabric down as I listen to the rhythmic humming of the machine.
I stop the machine and hold up the shirt, examining the seams and admiring the even lines. I take out a pair of scissors and cut off a stray thread.
Fabric, thread, skilled eyes and trained hands—these four things have gone a long way in creating opportunity in an area where second chances seem as scarce as money.
I remember the many days I woke to the sounds of my seven children. Seven children—and no father to walk through the door at the end of the day.
I found myself with only
one open door—sewing.
I know about sacrifice. I remember how, at 16, I left school to provide for my five siblings. I learned to sew at a factory. Then I slowly developed an eye to create patterns and trained my hands to make those patterns realities in fabric.
When I started my business, I knew how to sew, but managing a business was a new skill I had to learn.
I needed customers. After I printed my first business cards, I went to a trade expo. Hand to hand, I passed out all my business cards.
When you have hungry
mouths at home,
you just can’t quit.
And God opened a door.
One of the hands I pressed my card into was a representative from Coca-Cola, who soon gave me an order for half a million aprons embroidered with their logo.
I now hang the shirt on a hanger and smile. My business continues to grow, employing more than 10 others in my community. Running a business is hard work. Some days I come home empty-handed, barely able to pay my workers. Other days, like today, we work late into the night finishing an order.
As I blink the needed sleep from my eyes, I watch the sun rise from the small window in my factory. There’s a joy in my heart as I look around the room and realize that I’ve created opportunity—not just for myself, but for others, too.