Meet the Coleg Gwent tutor who has embarked on a personal project that goes above and beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

11 December 2023

Sarwat Hamid, a Business tutor at Coleg Gwent’s Torfaen Learning Zone, was confronted with a dilemma that many in the field face – the excess fabric generated by educational projects.  

Rather than letting it go to waste, she decided to channel her energy into something extraordinary – she began the project of sending the surplus fabric to Pakistan, helping impoverished families create beautiful dowries for their daughters. The project has grown since it started and with the help of Justin Lynch, ILS Learning Support Technician, Sarwat is also sending material donations from local fabric supplier Stately Albion. 

The dowry tradition in Pakistan has long been a significant aspect of a woman’s life, but financial constraints often turn this joyous occasion into a burden for many families. Sarwat recognised the transformative power of something as simple as fabric and working closely with the ILS department in Torfaen Learning Zone, saved the surplus materials and used it for a cause close to her heart. 

Pakistan, a country known for its vibrant textiles and rich cultural heritage, became the focal point of Sarwat’s initiative. Working in collaboration with her family and connections in Pakistan, she identified families struggling to afford the traditional dowry items that are essential for a daughter’s marriage. The surplus fabric, once destined for the waste bin, is now being shipped overseas to help provide valuable items, including clothing, curtains and other furniture for disadvantaged families. 

Sarwat has already sent two shipments via cargo ship to Pakistan which can take up to eight weeks, with a third scheduled before Christmas.  

She said: “When I saw the amount of fabric that could end up as waste, I knew I wanted to do something useful with the materials. It’s so humbling to hear about the good that has come from the materials, and we try to keep in touch with the families who have received our donations. As surplus fabric transforms into beautiful dowries, we are reminded that the simplest gestures can have a profound impact on the lives of others.” 

The impact of Sarwat’s efforts extends beyond materials. By providing families with lovely dowries, she’s not only helping them with their financial needs but also spreading happiness and pride during important life events.