When did it start? why?

SEW started because Malee Kenworthy and Sister Zeph came together and formed a partnership between East and West. Malee Kenworthy is the President and Founder of SEW and met Sister Zeph through watching a documentary that Malala Yousafzai posted on Facebook about Sister Zeph and her school, Zephaniah Free Education and Women’s Empowerment Foundation. Malee was working as a nursing assistant at the time when she found Sister Zeph on Facebook.

Their relationship and Malee’s relationship with the students grew and grew and then one year later Malee visited Pakistan just mere days after the Lahore Easter Park Bombing. Then almost exactly two years later Malee visited again. It is through the work that Malee and Sister Zeph have done together that much has been accomplished and led to the formation of SEW.

Read more about it here.

How did it get its name?

Malee was researching the best acronyms to represent her vision of helping more grassroots educational leaders around the world and found SEW to be the best fitting acronym. The other reason is that the more a person looks at women’s rights, education and labor laws/ human rights abuses around the world you can see how all of these things go hand in hand. What Malee has noticed is that most women use sewing to make a living and even at Sister Zeph’s skill center they have a stitching center where women learn stitching skills so they can support themselves.

It goes beyond this to the point that most of our clothing today is made with slave labor/ unethical labor. Jankowski (2016) states in “Who stops the sweatshops?: Our neglect of the injustice of maldistribution” currently there are over 250 million workers in sweat shops worldwide. Also 70% of these workers are women. These women have to work 12 hours a day almost every day and they are expected to take care of their children as well. Their children end up getting caught up in child labor, child marriage, human trafficking and more. Also, most of these women are only getting paid $1-$2 per day by large corporations that we buy our clothes from.

To give an idea of how large an impact can be made by just changing the consciousness to more sustainability in the fashion industry Russell (2018) states how much textile exports are worth in  “Beyond Sustainable: The Growing Demand for Ethical Fashion”. Textiles alone are worth more than $222 billion dollars annually and they make up the bulk of economies like Sri

Lanka, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. The media and fashion brands are starting to take notice of these human rights and environmental issues due to issues through the media being raised over child labor, unfair working practices, and more. In Pakistan the textile industry makes up almost 30% of the economy but most women in Pakistan are not employed, especially in rural areas. They are expected to stay at home and are denied an access to education.

SEW’s mission is to sew seeds of change where it is needed most in regards to education and skills training around the world

How has it grown?

SEW has grown because of the support of many people who supported Sister Zeph and Zephaniah. If it was not for so many people and some organizations that act on behalf of women, SEW would not exist. Women’s empowerment, women’s rights, children’s rights and equal access to education are the backbone and driving force of SEW. It is from this standpoint that we have grown and continue on our mission of support grassroots educational leaders around the world.

What countries and schools do you currently support/ help?

Currently we are helping a school in Pakistan called Zephaniah Free Education and a school in Cambodia called Sala Monkey Primary School.

How are the funds distributed?

Each school has about 200 students, 13-15 teachers, infrastructure, transportation, school supplies, children’s needs and unexpected expenses that arise from emergencies. So, the funds are distributed in this way when the schools receive the funds. SEW keeps 10% of everything donated through SEW to help with administrative costs.  

Are my donations, credit card information and personal information that I provide secure?

All of your information is secure. SEW hosts the website through Godaddy and has built this website using WordPress. SEW pays $200 per year to have SSL encryption as well as $9 per month for a WordPress plug-in called “Jetpack” which helps monitor the website and adds extra security. All of your information is secure and we have a privacy policy (you can find the link in the footer of the website) if you are concerned about our policies and how we use your information.

What are future goals of SEW?

The future goals of SEW is to expand our existing infrastructure by having capable people on our team as volunteers and employees. We plan on taking on more projects/ schools as soon as we can expand our donor base and get grants. As soon as we can expand our existing network, infrastructure, systems and more we will need to hire people to help us manage, maintain and grow our organization even further. So subscribe to our newsletter and stay in touch or reach out if you have any further questions, would like to get involved and more!

Top 10 Facts You Don’t Know
About Girls’ Education

Oct. 7, 2013

Educating a girl can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. Girls who get an education marry later, have fewer children, earn higher wages and support healthier and more prosperous families.

The numbers below offer insights into the current status of girls’ education, and the lasting impact education can have on girls, families, communities and nations around the world.

  • Globally, 65 million girls are not in school
  • There are 31 million girls of primary school age not in school. Seventeen million of these girls will probably never attend school in their lifetimes.
  • Of the 123 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who cannot read or write, 61 percent of them are women.
  • There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.
  • Girls with eight years of education are four times less likely to marry as children
  • A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20 percent more as an adult
  • A child born to a mother who can read and write is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school
  • Half of the children who are not in school live in conflict-ridden countries. Girls make up 55 percent of this total.
  • In 2012, there were 3,600 documented attacks on education, including violence, torture and intimidation against children and teachers, resulting in death or serious injuries, the shelling and bombing of schools and the recruitment of school-age children by armed groups.


Special thanks to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. Other sources include Education First, National Academies Press, the World Bank, UNICEF, EFA Global Monitoring Report and United Nations Statistics Division.

  • Jankowski, G. S. (2016). Who stops the sweatshops? Our neglect of the injustice of

maldistribution. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, (11), 581.


  • Russell, J. (2018, September 18). Beyond Sustainable: The Growing Demand for Ethical

Fashion. Retrieved October 29, 2018, from