Sewing for Survival

Emi and Zawadi

My African family is sewing for their mere survival. Meet Emiliane and Zawadi the seamstresses. The story behind the story tells of their resilience and fortitude.

The Back Story

Justin Williams is a missionary serving Uganda from my church family in Indiana.  His prayer at our church on a return visit from Africa changed my life. The answered prayer brought Jerry, a refugee living in Uganda into my life. Over the years of writing, Jerry and family became my family. 


Jerry and Justin have become friends in Uganda. Justin agreed to bring me the African dresses the girls made.  With only days before Justin left for Indiana, Jerry’s entire family became ill and incapacitated.


Under great duress caring for four children and being sick themselves, Zawadi (Jerry’s wife) and Emiliane (Jerry’s half-sister) made nine dresses. We are lucky to have gotten any photos at all which explains why they modeled the clothes over the top of what they were wearing and not showing their usually smiling faces. 


Lockdown - the Current Condition

Jerry delivered nine dresses to Justin the very day of their flight. The day after, Uganda was put in lockdown for 42 days. This is great peril to the urban refugees. They live day to day and hand to mouth “hawking” goods in order to eat. All transportation is outlawed, both private and public. The only way markets are allowed to remain open is if the shopkeeper lives full time at the market. How exactly are the people supposed to eat? With what will they use to purchase food? Life is impossible for the refugees under normal circumstances, but in lockdown, starvation is a harsh reality.

A Wing and a Prayer

Jerry and family are working hard to keep a roof over their heads.  Getting a job is not an option for the refugees, they are not ever selected. Jerry started a community organization to help other refugees.  He occasionally obtains funding for these efforts. His sister, Emiliane learned tailoring and is Zawadi’s teacher.  Both girls are making clothes and looking for ways to sell their wares in order to eat.


It is a miracle to receive nine dresses free of the cost of shipping (thank you Justin) and we are looking for friends willing to help this Ugandan family with the purchase of a dress. 


I will receive the dresses in a few weeks.  In the meantime, let’s find some generous well wishers who would like an African dress either for themselves or as an amazing gift. 

OyOh Empower-Her Fashion and Design

The girls put together a Facebook page for their Fashion business. OyOh is OneYouth OneHeart which is a division of Jerry’s humanitarian organization. OyOh Empower-Her Fashion and Design


Let’s start with a $100 donation for a dress.  If you can send more, it will help so much.  If you would like to simply make a donation, any amount is greatly appreciated.  You can make a “fee-free” donation via my  PayPal Link Here Just pick the friends and family or trusted vendor option.  I will forward them the funds.  The cost of rent for their two room flat, food, and charcoal for their one pot meal of beans is about $350 per month. 


The girls need a full featured sewing machine they say would cost about $283 is US dollars. It would help them to make a living to help support the family.

Chaos Abounds and People are Dying

Jerry is much like me in that he will give to others before he takes for himself. We both have agreed we cannot do this to our own demise and therefore we are asking for others to join in helping the least of these. Jerry has lost over 30 people in his local community.


As Jerry did a year ago, he is once again organizing a food drive to help his starving community of Congolese refugees.  Starvation is a greater threat than Covid.  If you will help them in this regard with your donation, you will be helping many.  Jerry has been a refugee for 13 years since 2008 and he relies solely on the mercy of the Lord working through people like you and me. May your prayers move the hand of God.  Please make donations to my PayPal Link Here


Last Flight Out - Fashion Show

Green and red dress
101 - Green and Purple Dress
Blue and Red Dress
102 - Blue and Red Dress
Red and Black Dress
103 - Purple and Green Dress
Pink Dress
104 - Pink and Gray Dress
Red and Yellow
105 - Red and Yellow Skirt
Yellow and Red
106 - Yellow and Red Tunic
Blue and Pink Dress
107 - Blue and Pink Dress
108-Pant Suit Tunic

Place your order

Call, text, email or message me on Facebook.

Phone: 317-450-8812

Polly Riddell on FB


Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is Mwamikazi (Queen Mother) to this sweet African refugee family. Connecting people and the stories they tell. (I will even sell this marvelous dress off my back to help my family.)

View the series and fall in love with this family.