Community upliftment comes from within and Lavender Hill’s Pastor Francois Isaacs is giving residents an opportunity to put food on their tables by making bags.
Isaacs was a factory manager for many years and was able to make valuable contacts in the industry, which he had no idea would work in his favour later on.
When the factory was closed, a fabric retailer, who was once a client at the factory, began to recommend Isaacs to sew bags for individuals or companies in need of that service.
It was through these recommendations that he was able to empower himself, his wife and several residents who would also sew the commissioned bags and create an income for themselves.
Isaacs says: “My wife has been working in factories for 30 years, on sewing machines. After I got sick she had to leave her work and look after me, but she still has machines at the back that she can use to help me. So now I have four people who help me in the community.”
He continues, explaining that the work he does is to uplift the community that he calls home. “Everything that I do is community-based. I want to help the community because I’ve been living in this house for 44 years. I know the community and the people and what they go through. Now that I have a chance to help, I want to help. It’s to provide food because people in this area suffer from not having an income.”
About two years ago, he was able to call on the skills of eight women in the community who used his sewing machines to sew tents for a UK-based film company who needed tents to shoot a refugee movie that was based in Cape Town.
His wife, Cecilia, sews the small loads on her own when demand is not high and says she is able to get through 100 bags in one day.
In addition to empowering the community, the Isaacs’ use their own funds to make sandwiches and provide drinks to children on their way to school, so that they have a good opportunity to focus during class after having their tummies filled.