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Sewing From the Heart

Being a tailor is Nelson Jester’s livelihood. It’s what brings his sweet, reserved personality to life. It’s what inspired his first business, generated a steady income, and continued his success and independence after graduating from the Zoe Empowers Malawi program in 2017. 

Sewing is also the way he shows love and support to his community. Every two months, Nelson packs up his sewing machine and arranges transportation to a local hospital where he stays for two days to tailor anything and everything the medical staff and their patients need. He does this at no cost. 

“I usually go to rural hospitals because I know that life is hard in rural areas, so I just want to give what I can,” said Nelson. “They [hospital staff] are always happy to have me there.”

Nelson has mended hundreds of items at several hospitals throughout the area, but one man, in particular, he remembers with vivid detail. 

The man came into the hospital with a leg wound. He wanted to roll up his pants to allow the wound to dry and heal, but he only owned one pair of pants with a narrow opening at the bottom. Nelson loosened the seams, adding an extra panel of fabric around the ankle so the man could easily pull the pant leg up to his knee. These fixes are simple for Nelson but significant to the owner of the garment. 

Outside of volunteering his time at the hospital, Nelson looks for ways to use his talent to better the community he lives and works in. 

Last year, he observed an orphan in his community showing up to church in the same dress week after week. He knew she had lost her father and was likely struggling, so he kindly asked the girl if he could make her a new dress. She obliged and came to his studio to be measured. Within a day, he sewed her two new dresses. 

But the bright, beautiful textiles Nelson uses in his craft aren’t the only thing in full color these days. He, too, has changed from a shy orphaned teenager, desperate for help, to a spirited and confident young businessman who believes his success is a direct reflection of how much he gives back. 

Using the talent God gave him to better the lives of others is what will help him achieve his ultimate dream of owning a textile shop and building a big home. With this in mind, he continues to serve his community the way he knows how: sewing. 

ZOE

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