Founded in 2013 by Ms. Anne Marie Lilh, Sew Empower Inc. (previously Gerehu Waikele Women’s Sewing Group) is a group made up of 3 attached and 4 unattached volunteers. The group focusses on financial literacy in Papua New Guinea (PNG): a country where 80% of its population remains unbanked. The high statistics leads to various socio-economic issues that the women of the country are most affected by. This financial exclusion creates poverty, crime and wearing down of the social fabric as people turn to desperate means to make a living. The group sees financial literacy, especially among grassroots women, as a key way to become a more prosperous and fair nation. They are committed to spreading financial literacy and basic skills awareness throughout the most notorious and poor areas of urban Port Moresby. So far, over 50 participants have graduated from Gerehu suburb and are now looking to further 35 more.
The group considers the success of of its one-of-its-kind training in the city’s most notorious suburb Gerehu, as their biggest achievement. “We came out of the experience encouraged with the overwhelming support and feedback we received from participants and the community, as a whole,” they say. The program was featured in the national newspaper and their work was also praised on social media and in writing. The group is working hard to reach more notorious and underprivileged suburbs and expand its work beyond Gerehu.