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Project Stitch Sainte Luce

Our longest running Sustainable Livelihoods initiative, Stitch Sainte Luce successfully trained dozens of women in a rural village cluster of Madagascar in embroidery and business skills. Now an established and independent co-operative, SEED continues to work closely with the Cooperative on international sales, marketing and logistics.

In Sainte Luce, income-generated activities for women are restricted to reed weaving and mangrove fishing, both of which provide minimal income and simultaneously harm the environment. Many women are forced to rely on the marginal fishing income of their husbands and fathers, perpetuating a cycle of dependency. 

Madagascar currently ranks 120th out of 128 countries listed on the Women’s Economic Opportunity Index

Economist Intelligence Unit, 2012

Income generated from selling my embroidery with Stitch has not only helped afford school and hospital fees but small luxuries like new clothes for church and celebrations

Esterline, Co-operative President

We have worked to combat inequalities by providing women with embroidery training, a career-oriented skill that supports financial independence. Since its inception, Stitch has grown from 20 to over 103 women by allowing the original embroiders to become both mentors and trainers of each new cohort, contributing to an increasingly self-sustainable cycle. The members draw inspiration from the diverse local wildlife and beautiful natural landscapes to produce high-quality bags, purses and other accessories.

Esterline, President of Stitch Sainte Luce
An embroiderer works on a new design in the Studio
Rosine shows a finished handmade glasses case

In recent years SEED has focused on expanding, strengthening, and increasing the independence of the cooperative, preparing to provide long-term sustainable livelihoods to women, without external donor funding. With the embroidery generating income, the women in the village have been able to support over 948 people throughout Sainte Luce by feeding, educating, clothing or supplementing healthcare costs of others. We hope this will inspire other women to set-up similar initiatives, helping to fight poverty and promote gender equality throughout Madagascar!


Continual thanks to our two long-term donors: The Leopardess Foundation and The Fresh Leaf Charitable Foundation.