In the spring of 2007 I was asked if I’d be willing to come and help the girls in an orphanage in Mozambique to learn to quilt. My sister, Alison had been helping there in the Bible school for the past few summers and became aware of the need in the sewing room for a helper. When I asked if they’d like to learn to quilt, the answer was a definite YES! So, I began emailing Betty, the full time missionary in charge of the sewing room. She thought a crazy quilt project of some kind would be good so they could make use of their scraps. I designed two different quilt patterns with that in mind, but ended up coming up with a small and simple wall hanging project that they could complete and also make more of to sell.
I spent many months raising the money to go and preparing the projects. I had to pack all the supplies I needed to carry out these projects in a large suitcase and take them with me on the plane. Cotton quilting fabric like we have here in the states is unavailable there.
Upon arriving at the orphanage I set to work and spent most of the daylight hours in the sewing room with three different age groups of girls that ranged from 10 to 20 years old. They were shy at first and didn’t speak much English, but it didn’t take them much time to warm up. They were so eager to learn and between my demonstrating what to do and Betty’s translating in Portugese they were able to sew up a storm. At the end of my three weeks there they’d accomplished so much and I felt like I’d made a lot of new friends. Saying goodbye was hard. I knew I’d have to come back and continue what we started.
Teaching the girls a life skill like quilting can make a big difference in their lives. When they must leave the orphanage hopefully they will have a way to make money. Many of these children have no parents because of aids. Some of them are brought to the orphanage because the families simply couldn’t feed and care for them. I realized that sharing what I have to offer brings them hope. Showing them love, encouragement and a skill is huge to them. It truly can change the path of their lives.
I am in the process again of raising money to return and also to buy supplies to take with me. The total amount I need to raise is $5,000.00. If you would like to he