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Sewing club going well at Rankin school

An after school sewing club produced its first completed parka of the year at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik (MUI) in Rankin Inlet this past week.

The first parka was completed by Destiny Anawak and given to Ava Nahalolik.

Class instructor Tracy Ayaruak said she approached MUI principal Catherine Leblanc with the idea for the sewing class because she was aware of the success students in that program at Skills Nunavut were enjoying.

Ava Nahalolik, 12, left, displays the parka made for her by Destiny Anawak, 13, during an afternoon sewing class at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet on Nov. 29.Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

She said there wasn’t any funding available for a full class at MUI this past year, but funding became available to launch the program this semester.

“The program will help our young ladies to start sewing at a young age,” said Ayaruak.

“I know how important that is because my mom taught me during my high school years.

“So, I thought it would be nice to help some kids learn now and they will be able to sew for their families one day.”

Leblanc laughed and said she, kind of, wanted to be in Ayaruak’s program herself when she first heard the details of it.

She said she was excited about the program from day one and could see its potential for growth in future years at MUI.

“Although the class started out fairly small this past year, we stumbled upon some funding through Quality of Life this year that was, basically, a grant for hosting activities for kids that was tied-in through mental health,” said Leblanc.

Instructor Tracy Ayaruak, from left, leads an after school sewing class that includes Ava Nahalolik, 12 (recipient of first completed parka), Destiny Anawak, 13, Sue Ugguk, 13, and Alaira Ayaruak, 13, back, at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik in Rankin Inlet on Nov. 29.Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

“I wrote to them asking if they could supply the funding for the furs, materials, new sewing machines and thread and we were approved.

“I love how Tracy has the club set-up in a way that has the students feeling good about themselves for doing something for others, by having each student make a parka for someone else before they can make one for themselves.

“Destiny Anawak was the first to complete a park for someone else this year, so now she gets to start working on one of her own.”

Ayaruak said the sewing club has grown from six girls from junior-and-senior high this past year to 10 girls this year.

She said the students have taken to the program very well and would spend more time at the MUI sewing club if they could.

“The girls ask me if they could stay a few more hours almost every evening when I ask them to start cleaning up, so I have to remind them that I have my own family to care for and have to go,” said Ayaruak with a chuckle.

“I hope we can look at getting a Skills Nunavut program going again in the new year but, for now, I’m just seeing how the club is going with more young ladies taking part this year.

“I do, however, have one student who is in her second year with the sewing club and she’s really improved a lot.

“So, maybe I’ll encourage a few of the girls who are learning the quickest to take an interest in it (Skills Nunavut).”