The Lions Club of Yarrawonga is the host club for this remarkable district project.
The Turban Project started out of a need for Lion Debbie Van Corler to provide some attractive headwear for her mother who was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and because of the chemotherapy she was gradually losing her hair. After extensive searching Debbie could only find some quite expensive turbans so she decided to make some herself. Debbie found a pattern on-line and commenced making her first turbans.
After her success with making turbans for her mother, Debbie thought there must be lots of people out there going through the same thing as her mother, so Debbie started making more turbans to distribute free to those that needed them. The first production started on Debbie’s kitchen table with Debbie sewing and her friend Joan and her mum packaging them.
The demand for turbans grew and there were lots of ladies willing to help, so the Yarrawonga Lions clubroom was commandeered every Tuesday for the Turban ladies to bring their sewing equipment and make turbans. After a short time, the project became a Lions Club of Yarrawonga project and the clubroom was converted into a permanent sewing room, named the Turbanary, saving the ladies from having to bring and later take home their equipment. The project started to gain pace and after 12 months 2,000 turbans were made and distributed.
The demand grew even further with money and fabric being donated to aid the cause. The Turbanary was upgraded with new sewing machines, improved lighting, better seating, benches and racking. They had quite a production line in place with ladies sewing, quality control inspections and shipping.
There were many challenges along the way, one being Covid-19 which prevented the ladies from meeting, so a pickup point was nominated, and equipment and materials were taken home so the work could continue. There was also the opportunity of making masks which provided a healthy income which was set aside for future shipping costs.
There were a few not negotiable principles that applied, such as that the turbans be of the highest quality, because the recipients deserved it and that the turbans would only ever be given away free.
The project has now been running for 6 years and has produced a staggering 50,000 turbans – that number equates to many more smiling faces of the recipients, their family and friends.
If you think you would like to be involved, then contact us to see about joining the Lions Club of Yarrawonga!