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Jul 26, 2018

Police Teach Sewing on the South Side

The Belize Police Department, through its Community Policing Unit, is teaching south side residents how to sew. Yes, you heard it right – the police partnered up with the community to teach sewing skills to about ten participants and it is all being led by a cop himself.  ACP Robert Mariano has pulled out his tailoring skills that he acquired as a boy in Dangriga to now help empower residents. News Five’s Andrea Polanco reports.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

ACP Robert Mariano is known to most asa veteran lawman, but today the regional commander revealed that he is quite the tailor. He says that he acquired the skills at a young age.

 

Robert Mariano

ACP Robert Mariano, Central Regional Commander

“I was one of those who went to learn tailoring and I was able to make my clothes since I was twelve years old with a gentleman by the name of Charles Locario in Dangriga. I am sharing it and I want to invite more adults to come and if there any child from the age of twelve years old who would like to join they are welcome.”

 

We found him at the Yabra Community Center using those skills to empower a group of ten persons, mostly women.

 

ACP Robert Mariano

“I have seen several parents or adults coming to me, as OC Eastern Police Division or Regional Commander, seeking employment. So, I found a way in using my expertise in making clothes to share with these parents. And so I got in touch with the community policing officers and asked them how I can utilize my expertise in sharing with others.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Are you hoping to see one or two or even more of these ladies starting their own little business at home?”

 

ACP Robert Mariano

“Yes. Exactly and that is my encouragement because our classes are every Tuesday and Thursday from two p.m. to five p.m. But we have the machines available and I encourage them that whatever I teach them, they must come back whenever they have time outside of those two days to come back and practice.”

 

For the past two months, the group has been busy working on these sewing machines, under the guidance and tutelage of ACP Mariano. They have sewn just about everything – from dresses to blouses to hats. Elvia Martinez is a stay-at-home mom who didn’t have any experience in sewing – but today she is wearing a dress she made all by herself.

 

Elvia Martinez

Elvia Martinez, Participant

“I really nuh mi know nothing. I nuh mi know coating, nothing, and so until I come here I learn everything. Now, I start to make my own things. I am proud of it and thanks to Mr. Mariano he has us here.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“How does it make you feel to know that you have acquired a skill in such a short period of time and it is a skill that you can use to make money – earn a living?”

 

Elvia Martinez

“Well, I proud of myself because the way I see it – I am a very talented person and all of us have our stuff. I am more interested in pants and stuff but yesterday I started to get more interested in dresses and I start to make my own. I plan to keep it up so that I can get better.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you have any plans to open a small business from home to start doing this and make a living from it?”

 

Elvia Martinez

“Yes. More or less, I want to start it to help my husband. A lot of females, single mothers are out there and they need a little assistance. So, I can try and help them. I learnt it to help myself and help my people too because sometimes uniforms expensive. And I just make my son’s first uniform pants too, so I am proud of it.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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