Fundraising for Sri Lanka - ‘20 looms for 20 girls’
CONEL’s Director of Science, Engineering and Construction, Marcia Summers, is raising money to support Sri Lankan women who have been sexually abused – giving them useful skills to help them earn a decent living.
Marcia said, “I am currently fundraising for 20 portable rigid heddle looms for the refuge at the ‘Women’s Development Centre’ (WDC) in Kandy, Sri Lanka, and ‘Their Future Today’ girls’ refuge in Galle, which is in the south of the island. The looms cost £159 each, so I am attempting to raise £3,200.
“I’m raising funds for these looms as part of a wider British Council project called Crafting Futures. We’ve put in a bid to the British Council for up to £5,000 to fund a UK-based craft practitioner to travel overseas to undertake a project with a local community to support the development of a particular craft. Krys, a very creative friend of mine, will go to Sri Lanka in April 2020 to deliver a training course at the WDC shelter on the outskirts of Kandy and another at the girls’ refuge in Galle.
“Our proposal is to teach young girls, often aged 12-21 years old, who have been sexually abused and who are living in a refuge recovering from the abuse, the skills to make beautiful hand-woven scarves.
“The idea is to give the girls/young women weaving skills along with a loom, so that when they return home or are living independently they can generate their own income through the sale of their scarves to the local tourist industry or/and via ETSY (a Global online marketplace where people make, sell and buy unique items). The girls already learn independent living skills in the shelters such as growing food, food preparation, cooking simple meals, sewing and weaving. Learning to use a heddle loom will give them a very specific skill, enabling them potentially to earn a living for themselves.
“However, there is a huge further benefit to weaving and that is weaving as therapy. Creative activities are essential for the girls to promote their well-being after the trauma they have suffered, or in the words of Pearl Stephen, the late founder of WDC, ‘to help bring the girls to a position of normalcy, post their traumatic experiences.’
“Thank you so much for your ongoing support. The success of this project will make a very significant difference to lives of vulnerable people in Sri Lanka.”