11 December 2008

Embroidery Project at Centre Guilgal Orphanage

Two posts in one day. Can you dig it? I'm going to be wicked busy for the next few days and I want to share the little write-up I did for my office about the women's shelter that does the embroidery.

At the Centre Guilgal in Bujumbura, girls and young women are learning a craft to secure their futures: Embroidery. Thanks to the collaboration of Margriet Zuure-Stolk and Suzanne Nyanzahe, the young women are creating beautiful fabrics to sell, including tablecloths, napkins, and pillowcases.

“I was roaming the streets and hardly ever had any food before I arrived at the orphanage,” Jeanine says. Thanks to the Centre Guilgal and the efforts of Margriet and all the people who buy the lovely tablecloths Jeanine will soon be living independently.

Suzanne started the Centre Guilgal in 1995 to help give homes to children orphaned by the war. But the children needed more than just a home—they needed skills that could help them gain independence. The boys were taught carpentry and the girls took up sewing.

“When I visited the orphanage for vulnerable girls and boys I saw two girls working hard, learning to sew and embroider,” said Margriet. “But what next? The centre had a problem. After the formation there was no money to let the girls move towards an independent life. I thought it would be a good idea to let them embroider tablecloths which then could be sold. From the money all my friends, colleagues, and family paid for the tablecloths I bought sewing machines. Since then the centre has received a considerable order. We started with two girls, now there 35 girls working on all the orders and 26 have their own sewing machines.”

The girls not only learn how to embroider and sew but they also learn about production, selling, and marketing, bookkeeping and other self-supporting skills, and English.

Margriet continues, “What is so wonderful about this project is that it gives young girls and women a chance at a new future. The tablecloths (serviettes, pillowcases, placemats, etc.) are truly beautiful and have been embroidered with much love and dedication. Everyone who sees them is wildly enthusiastic.”

“Create your own tablecloth” is the slogan at Guilgal. Custom-made items can include animals, palm trees, and Burundian women.

More photos at flickr.

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