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Refurbished Scots sewing machines are helping young women in Ghana to a better life

© Tools For Self RelianceSinger machines used to teach sewing in Ghana
Singer machines used to teach sewing in Ghana

It was once the bedrock of Clydebank, a name synonymous with the town.

Now reconditioned Singer sewing machines made in the much-missed factory are having a similarly powerful impact 3,000 miles away.

The refurbished machines are shipped to Ghana, where young women from unsettled backgrounds are taught sewing skills to provide them with the tools for a better life.

The Singers, often more than 100 years old, are favoured because of their enduring quality and each graduate is given a machine at the end of the course.

Vida Amoako, director of Street Girls Aid, said: “It doesn’t matter if the Singer machines are old, because they are very durable.

“The machines carry them through the training and when they graduate they take it away to start their own business.”

More than 20 women graduate from the course each year. A member of this year’s class is Gloria Boakyewaa Brumpog.

“Having the machine will change my life, big time,” she said.

“In Ghana, sewing is a profession – you choose to do it and earn money, it’s not just a hobby,” said Abena Ntiriwah Boamah, another student.

The Singer sewing machines arrive in Ghana from Tools For Self Reliance, a charity with workshops across the UK where volunteers refurbish items, including the donated Singers.

The organisation’s work features in a new documentary shown on BBC1 Scotland.

The Singer Story: Made In Clydebank tells the story of the workers and the impact the US-owned sewing machines had all over the world.

The Singer Story: Made In Clydebank, BBC1, Wednesday 9pm