Last year, when the Lockdown started, the SLRA Women’s Group decided to make their own community quilt. A quilt is a large piece of fabric made up of smaller pieces of fabric that are then sewn together.
Each woman received a bag of different fabrics, stitching materials, needles and buttons. Most of the materials were donated by individuals who replied to our Facebook post and some of the women used fabric which they had at home.
In several session and videos, one of our volunteers, Izzy, who is a professional tailor, explained the different stitches and offered tips. Some women also watched YouTube videos to gather inspiration since it was either their first embroidery project or their first in in a long while.
Many of the women mentioned that the quilt piece helped them through the difficulties in the first lockdown:
“My experience of making the quilt was really beautiful and it felt like my life continued even though we had been in lockdown.” – Mandi
“I am happy because it reduces the stress and the thoughts about the pandemic. It helped to do something because there was not much to do. It increased my skills and it was a good experience.” – Vierne
After less than a year, Tamara who is supporting the women’s group, cycled through London to collect the finished quilt pieces and to then deliver them to Izzy who stitched them together.
On the 12th of March – In the week of the International Women’s Day, we unveiled the finished community quilt and each woman who joined the quilt piece explained the idea behind the design and what it symbolizes for her.
We were really impressed by the results and ended the week with a wonderful session where we shared our experiences, asked each other questions about the quilts, listen to the stories behind them and laughed together.
In interviews with each woman, we captured their ideas and experiences of making the quilt. Some excerpts of these interviews can be read below:
“The hands together show that if we stand together things will be better for us. Together we stand, divided we fall. If we are united, we can do a lot. Working as a team you end up achieving a lot. Divided it will take much longer than working together. If the government would give us the opportunity of working, we could achieve so much more. I don’t have my freedom.”
“I like the women group; I want to thank the women’s group as during the lockdown they did many activities via zoom and it was really helpful, and I enjoyed it. I can only say thank you very much for everything they did.”
“2020 was a little of a daring time for me. Daring in the way that I learnt new things, in new ways like communicating and being on Zoom. I am not really good with technology either. So, it was something new. It also meant that -how can I say – meeting others who are going through similar situations and being able to share with them, and to feel free. It gave me the freedom to do and not be worried about what people are thinking of and what your quilt comes out.”
“I believe that SLRA women’s group has given me the chance to be part of a team bringing justice for injustice and fairness and I am thankful and happy to be part of that togetherness. I enjoy what we learn and give a big Virtual Hug to everyone online as we are not able to meet in person. I am thankful.”
“I would say to display it and if it is possible to frame it. And to make it a centerpiece, so like that maybe you enter the building you can see the contribution of women and what the charity has meant to us. I am aware that people came to you for different reasons or just like for me – thank you for being there for me when I needed help. This is my view – It is just a thank you for you guys, when I needed someone to be therefore me in my times of needs.”
“The quilt is just an image of what I am feeling inside of me. It is like an image that reflects myself and what I am feeling because it is an image of hope, of positivity even if we pass through hard times.”
“It means so many things to me. First of all, it is a place where I can be myself like just this group of women where you can be vulnerable. You are allowed to be you. Like nobody is judging anybody, nobody is judging on everyone’s flaws, differences, you know, differences like – we come from different cultures, countries, backgrounds. For some people their first language is not English, but we all join. I am looking forward to it every Friday to just hang out. It is also a place where I learnt a lot. On my occasions different topics happened”
We also shared some of the quilt pieces on our Twitter account @SLRAcharity, please feel free to share our Tweets to spread the message of community and togetherness.