Behind The Apron: Madam Begam's Story


Exciting things are brewing as we anticipate the launch of our Celebrating Dreams initiative. This is a new initiative we’re working on to actively and intentionally support the single mothers from the HCSA Dayspring Spin Program. While a percentage of the sales of our products go to the single mothers at HCSA, we wanted an outlet to directly work with these moms and help them grow a means to support themselves financially as well. 

Our first project that we took on in this initiative is handmade aprons that are uniquely sewn by our single mother, Madam Begam. These aprons (for both mothers and kids) will be made available at our shop this week, but more than just sharing these beautiful products with you, we also want to let you in on our single mothers’ stories and journeys.

And here’s Madam Begam’s story…



E&S Blessing: Hi Madam Begam! Thank you so much for letting us come round for a chat with you. We’re so excited for the aprons to be launched. Before we get going with this interview, perhaps you could just introduce yourself to our readers.

Madam Begam: My name is Madam Begam. I am a single mother with five kids. I love to sew and I love my big family and all my kids. I love sewing and I’m interested to learn new things about sewing and embroidery.


ES: Oh, we didn’t know you do embroidery as well!

MB: I used to do embroidery with a machine before, but now I would love to learn embroidering by hand too. I love embroidering things like flowers or words.


ES: How long have you been sewing for? Do you remember the time you started sewing?

MB: I actually started [sewing] when I was 15 years old. I stopped sewing when I was 20 years old when I got married. When I got married and when I had children, I didn’t have many opportunities to sit down and sew. This year [2019] was when I started sewing again after all these years.


ES: When we first started working with you a few months back, we heard that you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer! Tell us more about this dream.

MB: Yes. When I started sewing at 15, I was very interested in new clothes designs and I started drawing these designs out. But at 20 years old, with marriage and children, I totally stopped; There was no opportunity to go and continue on that path. Even my sewing machine was spoilt, and so I totally stopped. With a big family at that time, I didn’t have time to do anything else, and it’s only now that I’ve started sewing again.


ES: Oh wow, we’re glad you’re back to sewing now. Did you learn sewing from your mom or was it someone else who taught you to sew?

MB: It’s a teacher who taught me sewing. She’s from Malaysia and she came in to teach me from when I was 15 years old to 17 years old. She came in around three to four times monthly. Her fees at that time was about $100 - $150, but my parents helped to pay for these classes. My dad had a store at that time so they were able to support my growing love for sewing. 



ES: Of course, we love your aprons that you’ve sewn for our ES Blessing Social initiative and we can’t wait to share it with everyone else, but are there any other things you can sew or that you’re working on at the moment?

MB : I’ve been sewing batik clothing, bags, and aprons. For the aprons, Sarah [founder of E&S Blessing Box] gave me the cloth and materials, and I just started sewing! Even for the sling bags, people gave me the material to sew and I sewed.


(Madam Begam then went on to show us a couple of the bags that she’s been working on.)


ES: I love the batik prints of the bags. They’re so simple yet so unique! And definitely very practical too.

MB: These sling bags are actually made from the leftover cloth of the batik clothing I was previously working on. I didn’t want to waste any of the cloth.


ES: Ahh, and you previously mentioned you wanted to learn embroidery by hand too. Are there any other things you’re hoping to sew?
 

MB: If there are any classes that others recommend to me, I will definitely go for them! I want to learn more about sewing. Because one of my sons is autistic, I need to find classes and projects that allow me to stay home and do my work from home. I need to survive financially for the children so I hope to be able to stay home to take care of them and at the same time, work from home to earn money.

It’s very hard to go out and look for a job outside – that’s a big difficulty. And that’s why I’m looking for opportunities like this [Celebrating Dreams] one so I can do more from home and look after my kids. This is the way I run my life.



ES: Yes, definitely. And now, a final question as we wrap things up: What does it mean to be a mom to five children and what is motherhood to you?

MB: As a mother, I need to monitor [the children’s] eating routines, homework, and it’s not an easy task. It’s not easy to be a mother – it’s very difficult! I have to look after and watch them one by one as they come home from school at different times throughout the day. My oldest son is doing his N Levels this year and it’s also getting more stressful for me as it is for him. My eldest daughter is waiting to apply for university. I’m not sure how the university fees will be like and that makes everything more stressful too.

But we will try, we will try our best. I will try my best with motherhood.

I like being a mom. On one part, it’s okay and fun. On the other, it is also very stressful. But when my children are happy and I see them happy, that’s when I’m happy – and that is what makes everything okay.

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Madam Begam’s hand-sewn aprons will be launching online for everyone on 18th October 2019 (Friday). For all our moms out there who are a part of our #momlife community, it will be available on 16th October 2019 (Wednesday) at 8pm. If you’re a mom, do be sure to join our #momlife community to receive early access to our new and upcoming launches, exclusive promotions, and more!