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Toronto women’s group sponsors school program in Naujaat

The annual Jappa Making program with senior high students at Tuugaalik High School wrapped up in Naujaat this past month.

A total of eight selected students worked with five sewers to make their own jackets in this year's program.

Grade 12 student Natanai Qanatsiaq is all smiles while adding a distinctive NHL feel to his garment during a jappa-making program at Tuugaalik High School in Naujaat this past month. photo courtesy Julia MacPherson

The Jappa Making program also received a boost this year in the form of a $2,600 donation from a non-profit group based in Toronto, Ont., called the Spirituelle Divas who were interested in supporting a sewing program for youth.

Group spokesperson Rosalind Smith said the Spirituelle Divas had been hearing that people in Nunavut, especially women, have been having a difficult time recently and wanted to do something to help.

She said the group originally connected with a Ryerson University program that was trying to start a collective with the women in Naujaat but, for whatever reason, the collective didn't get off the ground.

“We had collected the money anyway and we wanted to do something good with it, so I ended-up speaking with Julia (Tuugaalik vice-principal MacPherson) on some different things we might be able to do to help at the high school school in Naujaat,” said Smith.

After learning about the sewing program they got “very excited” about the fact that they could help, she said.

“We like to help people who really want it, and who are able to move on in life with something that you helped create,” she said. “You want something important to happen from what you do.”

Smith said the group had been originally talking about a sewing program with the collective, so the high school program kind of fit the same bill.

She said the Toronto group also really liked the fact this program was helping students.

“We sent the money to Julia for the program, and she has since sent us some photographs from the program and they really look great,” she said.

SInce 2002, the Spirituelle Divas have championed a range of charitable initiatives, said Smith.

“Basically, we just thought we'd like to do things that help other people and not just be helping ourselves all the time,” she said. “We also sent 350 bras to the women up there, but that's a story for another time.”