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During the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to live and work in Johannesburg, South Africa from June-August through the Notre Dame International Summer Service Learning Program. 

Through the program I was able with a team of other designers to work on continuing social development projects, that were started in the fall of 2014 and that aim to better the impoverished neighborhood of Jeppestown, about a mile outside of the Johannesburg city center. 

The projects, entitled Enza, focus around a sewing initiative and a heating project. The project's goals are multi-faceted—to provide jobs to the community, while also creating projects that suited to the community needs. 

Personally, my work was in the sewing initiative. Each day I worked with unemployed mothers of the community, teaching them how to sew, maintain machines, and read and follow patterns. Taking from what I learned daily from the women, we are hoping to transition the information and instructions into print materials that can promote the replication of the initiative in other in-need communities. 

In a hope to further the flourishing of these projects, our team applied, and won, a 2015 Sappi Ideas That Matter grant. Below is the application that further details out the initiative, the design research behind them, and the physical products. 

View PDF

The grant application was designed by Abbey Dankoff (Notre Dame, 2016)