Training in Lead Poisoning for Sewing Confidence

Sewing Confidence women from Nepal, Burundi, Rwanda, Haiti,  and Iraq  are empowering themselves with the  knowledge  to protect their children’s health by preventing lead exposure in their homes. Rubia is  grateful to Suzanne Rouleau of the Manchester Dept. of Health training the seamstresses in how to minimize the risk of lead poisoning.    In addition to offering training at their studio in West Manchester, the Health Department supplied tools for cleaning their apartments to prevent lead poisoning. Sewing Confidence Director, Thandi Tshabango Soko identified the need for health classes along with training in sewing and product design:   “As the women transition from living in refugees camps to living Manchester, they and their families are faced with new health challenges ranging from environmental exposures to changing diet and physical activity levels.” said Tshabango-Soko. In response, Tshabango-Soko coordinated the lead poisoning risk prevention program.

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. However, nearly 1 million children living in the United States have blood lead levels high enough to impair their ability to think, concentrate, and learn. Evidence shows that the most common source of lead exposure for children today is lead paint in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates. New Hampshire has the oldest housing of anywhere in the United States with 62% of its homes built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978.  We are grateful to St. Mary’s Bank, the oldest credit union in the US, for the generous Community Outreach grant that  made this training possible.