The fabric giveaways are now closed but Action Kivu is always in need of donations.  Please read about Action Kivu, below and give what you can.

Hello everyone! It’s an exciting day.

Today is the first fifth day of a week long fundraiser that I’m hosting right here on my blog.  I’ll get to the serious stuff but let me just start by telling you that there are amazing fabric giveaways involved! Really and truly amazing.  Ok, on to the tough stuff…

This is a fundraiser for Action Kivu, an organization in eastern Congo that runs a sewing workshop for victims of the conflict there. The conflict in Congo has taken the lives of over 5.4 million people since 1998. Rape is used as a weapon of war, with estimates putting the number of rapes in the hundreds of thousands.

Needless to say, this specific organization, with its link to sewing and women, really strikes a personal chord in me and I suspect, with many of you as well.  Our online sewing community is so blessed to be able to pursue our love of sewing as a hobby, career, or just for fun, but for these women, learning to sew is life changing and gives them hope for their futures.

The Action Kivu sewing workshop of course costs money to run and they need supplies – sewing machines and more.  I am launching this fundraiser to raise the money for their supplies (and Action Kivu’s other activities should we raise over $7500) and I hope that you’ll join me by giving what you can.  All donations are tax deductible.

This is not lighthearted stuff and it is difficult to face, but we’re in a real position to help these sewing sisters so please do take the time to watch this 5 minute video and donate.   After you watch the video, scroll down to learn the details of the fabric giveaways that you could win if you give!

My goal, $7500 $10,000 (you’re so generous it had to go up!), will make an enormous difference.  See that thermometer up on my side bar? (Please click through if you’re reading this through a reader.)  Let’s make it grow all week long!!

$10000 is just 400 people giving $25 each!  Please decide to be one of those 400.

The original $7500 raised will go to the Sewing Workshop for their supplies.  Money raised in addition to that will go to Action Kivu’s other activities.  Along with running the Sewing Workshop, Action Kivu also pays for vulnerable children to go to school.  This money we are raising will help so many women and children!

Over and over I have personally experienced the amazing generosity and kindness that exists in our community.  Let’s all join together in that spirit to help these women to learn to sew and start a new life.

And so that fabric I mentioned? Here’s the deal – if you give, you qualify to win these amazing giveaways!

Give $25.00 and you’re in the running to win 8 fat quarters of out of print Heather Ross fabrics!  VW Buses and all!

Thanks to Ashley from Film in the Fridge for help with putting this pack together.

Give $50.00 and you can win 96 fat eighths in this amazing color wheel assortment!  No I’m not kidding – NINETY SIX!  Half solids and half patterned fabrics.  Think of all the amazing projects you could use this fabric for.

Generously donated by Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson!

But it doesn’t end there…

Give $75.00 and you are entered to win fat eighths of the ENTIRE line of Flea Market Fancy. We’re talking 45 fat eighths!

Generously donated by Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Thanks to Ashley & Heather for help with completing the set!

So please do DONATE!!! And give what you can – if you can give $10, please do. If you can give $500, please do! Click and give so that we can all work together to help these women!

And please help to spread the word about this fundraiser! Tell your friends or blog about it – let’s all join together and really make a difference!

Many more details in the case that you’d like to know them:

You’re probably wondering how I got involved. My twin sister, Cate, is working with Action Kivu. Action Kivu provides some of the eastern Congo’s victims of violence with the opportunity to rebuild their lives on a foundation of hope, dignity, and economic self-sustenance. Their approach is spearheaded through two programs. First, they run a sewing workshop that teaches women who are victims of the conflict to sew. This leads them to be able to support themselves and their families. Secondly, they pay for children to go to school which is not free in Congo. It costs $40 a year, per child. That’s very little money that makes a big impact.

If you are wondering why we can’t just donate our old sewing machines, there are a few reasons. First, getting supplies to eastern Congo is no simple task and would cost more than the value of the goods. Secondly they need very specific things. For example, they don’t always have power so they need trundle sewing machines. Lastly, it’s best that they buy the supplies there, putting the money into the local economy. You can imagine that buying a sewing machine helps not only the woman who sews with it, but the person they buy it from and the money trickles down from there.

Action Kivu is run in eastern Congo by a Congolese man, Amani Matabaro (who you saw in the video), who Cate knows personally and who is amazingly passionate and committed to his cause of helping women and children in his country. As an orphan who lost his parents in the conflict, he was driven to try to do something to help. He currently works as an interpreter for the UN and runs Action Kivu in all of his spare time. Amani has specifically asked for these things – we will not be throwing this money into the wind, not knowing where it’s going. Through photos and emails with Amani we will be able to see the immediate and concrete results of our fundraising.

If you’d like, you can learn more about the conflict, here.

Any other questions? Just drop me an email or comment and I will happily answer them for you!

Action Kivu is always taking donations but entries into the giveaways close on Sunday, 8/29 12:00 am EST.

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  • Suzanne

    August 23, 2010 at 6:14 am | Reply

    I just donated–thank you for spreading the word about this inspiring and important project. It’s worth mentioning that as well as the opportunity to win fabulous fabric, donations are also tax deductible.

  • CitricSugar

    August 23, 2010 at 6:32 am | Reply

    I love the idea for this giveaway – beautiful! Thank you for doing this.

  • Cindy

    August 23, 2010 at 7:25 am | Reply

    What a great opportunity to share a love of sewing and help those in need!

  • Wendy

    August 23, 2010 at 7:48 am | Reply

    What a great cause…you are doing something wonderful here. I donated $50 (I went directly to their site to donate…then I realized you had a button here…hope that was okay).

  • liveacolorfullife

    August 23, 2010 at 7:53 am | Reply

    My church works very closely with an organization that has a very strong presence in the Congo,working with the medical needs of the people there, and my aunt and uncle were missionaries in Congo for many years. The needs are great. Thanks for this opportunity to help.

  • Margaret

    August 23, 2010 at 8:51 am | Reply

    This is a great cause. I recently read the book “Say You’re One of Them” which was truly amazing. If you want to learn more about what is going on in East Africa, read this book. Also, thanks for the chance to win but again, great cause.

  • Kimberj

    August 23, 2010 at 9:03 am | Reply

    What a great program!!! I just donated and hope it helps! Wish it could have been more 🙂

  • Leigh

    August 23, 2010 at 9:07 am | Reply

    Thank-you for opening my eyes in such a vivid way to the destruction of life in the Congo. I also appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the hope that is there.

  • Lauren Hawley

    August 23, 2010 at 9:51 am | Reply

    Alissa, Kivu has been on my mind ever since Cate came to our meeting. I have often pondered different ways of helping and have remained inactive, much to my shame. Thank you for giving me an EASY opportunity to help. It is such a worthy cause and I hope everyone will dig deep to donate.

  • Kinsey

    August 23, 2010 at 10:39 am | Reply

    I donated…and was honored to do so. That’s heartbreaking stuff right there. But such an amazing organization that can hopefully change these people’s lives!

  • Linn

    August 23, 2010 at 11:11 am | Reply

    Thank you for bringing this organization to my attention and giving me a way to help.

  • Cami MacDonald

    August 23, 2010 at 11:26 am | Reply

    Thank you for the work you are doing. I will gladly donate and am happy to help the amazing, courageous and beautiful women of Congo!

  • Cami MacDonald

    August 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Reply

    Bless Amani for being a strong man to speak out in support of the Congolese women!

  • Des

    August 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Reply

    wow. thanks for a “do good” moment today.

  • Leslie williams

    August 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    Thank you for pointing out a wonderful cause. I hope everyone will donate many times over.

  • Sabah

    August 23, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Reply

    What a wonderful use of a blogging community! I’m in favor of this far and above a fund-raising party or dinner. I like that the entire donation would go to the cause, instead of paying for a seat at a table. I’m going to suggest using paypal alongside a message to a couple of non-profits I work with.

    Out of curiosity:
    When I donated using your button, the receipt listed What is that?

    I hope you hit your goal!

    • Alissa

      August 23, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Reply

      Hi Sabah,

      Thanks so much for your supportive response! Please let me know if you need anything from me to help you with spreading the word about the fundraiser. Home and Community is the non-profit that is providing Action Kivu with their fiscal sponsorship while they work to get independent non-profit status. Let me know if you have any other questions at all and again, thank you!


  • Munaiba

    August 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Reply

    Great work Alyssa! I hope the $25 makes a difference. I can blog about this tomorrow on my blog if you like?

    • Alissa

      August 24, 2010 at 6:27 am | Reply

      Hi Munaiba, That would be wonderful. Thanks for your donation and for helping to spread the word about the fundraiser!

  • marli

    August 24, 2010 at 6:29 am | Reply

    I donated.This is a wonderfull iniciative and we, as gifted people who sew and quilt for fun, we should have more of it, to help people around the world.

  • Mary

    August 24, 2010 at 7:46 am | Reply

    Donation accomplished. I appreciate your support of this effort. And it’s always nice to be able to donate within a community of shared interests.

  • Michelle Kitto

    August 24, 2010 at 8:32 am | Reply

    As so many have said, this is an awesome cause. Thanks for making us all aware of this. And what an amazing way to help these women. I am honored to participate in a small way with my donation. I am in awe of your sister who is working closely with this organization.

  • Leslie

    August 24, 2010 at 9:15 am | Reply

    Is there any way you can add this to your facebook account and see people would donate thru that?

  • Helen in the UK

    August 24, 2010 at 9:23 am | Reply

    Heard about this through the Tallgrass Prairie Studio blog – such a brilliant project. The prizes look fabulous, but unfortunately I was not able to donate enough to be eligible for the draw. But if lots of people give a little, it will add up to a lot for a good cause. Good luck with reaching your target 🙂

  • debbi dw

    August 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Reply

    I’m in for 50 – thanks for co-ordinating something so useful and meaningful to us all.

  • lisa

    August 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Reply

    what a great cause– what do we need to do to enter? Just make the donation or do we need to leave a comment too?

    • Alissa

      August 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Reply

      Hi Lisa! All you have to do is donate, we’re keeping track with all of donation info. Thank you!!

  • Kathy

    August 24, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply

    Hi, Thank you and as it’s been said, what a great cause. Could you please furnish me with further information about this worthy cause.Our church group takes on a new project every year or two and maybe this could be considered.
    Thanks again.

  • Maeve

    August 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Reply

    Hi Alissa – I have just donated $50 via your DONATE button on this blog. Such a great cause and a wonderful one for the quilting community to support. And, to make it even more worthwhile, if I win the basket of fat eighths, they will be used in making charity quilts. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Alexandra

    August 25, 2010 at 6:27 am | Reply

    This is a great cause and thank you for sharing your personal knowledge of the group. It makes it that much more special to support. I donated $50.

    Have a great week and good luck reaching your goal!

  • kristi

    August 25, 2010 at 7:20 am | Reply

    Spreading the word. Thanks for doing this!

  • Sally

    August 25, 2010 at 10:07 am | Reply

    As wonderful a cause as this certainly is, I am a little concerned about the percentage of the donations that will go directly to what it is intended for and not into the pockets of administrators. Can you give us any information about that?

    • Alissa

      August 25, 2010 at 10:48 am | Reply

      Hi Sally!

      I’d be happy to… Action Kivu’s administrative costs are minimal. Paypal takes 2.5% and their fiscal sponsor takes 3%. Otherwise, everyone involved volunteers so the rest of the money goes straight to Action Kivu. Please do let me know if you have other questions!


  • Lisa

    August 25, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Reply

    Kudos for doing a great thing! And thanks for showing that such a small amount is used for admin purposes. It really encourages donations when you know that it’s going where it needs to go. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to do a good deed today. Drooling over the Heather Ross prints didn’t hurt, either! 😉

  • BFromM

    August 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Reply

    This is a great idea for a truly worthy cause. I’ve donated $75.

  • Monika

    August 25, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Reply

    This moved me to tears and I have just donated $50, I wish I could give you more….Hope you reach your goal. Love your blog.

  • Betsy

    August 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Reply

    This is fascinating. Two things:
    1. Is there anywhere where we can see what the women have made?
    2. I highly recommend the documentary As We Forgive. This is a hope-filled look at some of the other reconciliation efforts being made by survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Details at

    • Alissa

      August 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Reply

      Hi Betsy,

      We don’t have many photos of the sewing workshop from the past (the ones you see in the video are pretty much it) but we will be getting many more in the future and I will be posting them on my blog. One thing the women in the sewing workshop will be doing is sewing school uniforms for the children who Action Kivu send to school. It’s a wonderful cross over!

      And I have heard of that documentary and will have to make a point of seeing it. Thanks for the recommendation!


  • Sues

    August 26, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Reply

    Such a worthy cause. I teach in a high school here in Australia and we are reaching out to a similar cause called Baking4Uganda.A local woman set this up and supplies us with cookies which we sell and the money goes to orphans in a village in Uganda. Please keep reminding us of what is happening in this part of our worls – its a priviledge to donate.

  • jeanettesquiltin

    August 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Reply

    Thanks for the opportunity to give

  • Karen U

    August 27, 2010 at 5:00 am | Reply

    What generous people you and your sister are for undertaking this daunting task. Good luck on reaching your goal.

  • Roberta

    August 27, 2010 at 8:41 am | Reply

    Wow Alissa…this is a fantastic organization! Found your blog via Sew Mama Sew and watched the video and had to read more. I’ve donated $50.00…actually did $25.00 first then read about how it only costs $40.00 to support one child a year so went back for another $25.00. I support two children in Kenya via Compassion and just had to help here as well. Sewing is a hobby/passion for me and seeing it empower women is the best. Just completed a campaign “Little Dresses for Afica” and I’m always trying to whip up little dresses when I can find the time. Best of luck this weekend on reaching your goal…I don’t think it will be an issue with such a great cause. Also, I’ve cut and pasted alot of your blog post and used it to make a post on my charity blog to help so I hope you are okay with me cuttin/pasting 😉 Fondly, Roberta

  • Laura

    August 27, 2010 at 10:26 am | Reply

    Thank you for supporting and publishing this cause! We are adopting 2 congolese children and I am so thankful for everyone who is educating our country about the uncomprehensible plight of these beautiful people. I am amazed that so little is known or reported.

  • Leah

    August 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Reply

    Wow, what a neat ministry! It’s exciting to hear about how you all are changing these women’s lives for good by teaching them the skill of sewing. This is something that will certainly impact these women for their rest of their lives as well as their children and their children’s children and so on. I can’t donate right now but will certainly keep you in mind for at some point in the future.

  • KPen

    August 27, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Reply

    What an amazing cause and great idea. I work in a HS – I will share this with our FACS teacher. I think the students would also find it interesting.

  • Claire

    August 27, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Reply

    A very worthy cause. Thanks for organizing this fundraiser, and giving us the opportunity to help. Much obliged.

  • Jane

    August 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Reply

    What an amazing opportunity you are offering those of us who would love to help and don’t always know how to go about it. I’ve made a donation, and I hope many many more people do as well. Thank you for your wonderful work. Bless you.

  • Booke

    August 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply

    This is an amazing and wonderful idea.

  • Linda D.

    August 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Reply


  • lucy

    August 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Reply

    thanks for the opportunity. it is great to know about this project. i am inspired by it: improve the world through sewing!

  • Libby

    August 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Reply

    Such a wonderful cause!

  • Carol Noon

    August 29, 2010 at 7:12 am | Reply

    What a wonderful cause: Empowering these women and giving them some control over their lives. Thank you for bringing this charity to my attention!

  • Kelly

    August 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Reply

    Donated $25 the other day and reposted. Awesome project!

  • Denise

    August 29, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Reply

    What a wonderful cause! I will pray that you reach your goal…I wish we had funds to donate. Mayne not now, but in the near future. Many Blessings!

  • Shirley Clark

    August 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    I hope you reach your goal. Great cause for these women.

  • Handmade by Alissa » Blog Archive » Action Kivu follow up!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:03 am | Reply

    […] been just over two months since the Action Kivu sewing workshop fundraiser that I held right here on my blog. I’m sure you all remember that we raised $10,510!! So […]

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