PIECEMAKERS PROJECT BACKGROUND AND UPDATES
2004: Piecemakers in the news
When Atiya Suhail learnt quilting, little did she know that one
day she would be teaching that art to a group of young impoverished,
underprivileged Karachi girls.
"Moving towards self-sufficiency", Dawn Magazine, December
5, 2004 ... more
2004: Salma Shakir in the news
Salma Shakir points out that the Piecemakers have benefited from
the contributions of a dedicated group of volunteers. "The
Piecemakers are working toward success due to the dedication of
many kind, generous people," Shakir said.
"Building a future, piece by piece", Arab News, August
13, 2004 ... more
July 2004: Quilt
The annual quilt exhibition, co-sponsored by SARID and the Rehman
Shah School & Vocational Centre, Umar Colony, Karachi, showcased
the work of students from the Centre with related workshops and
Karachi, Pakistan, July 2004 ... more
The Piecemakers now have a logo for their handiwork designed by
23 year old Ahmed Amin, who graduated from the Indus Valley School
of Art and
Architecture with a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design.
Ahmed Amin who loves illustration, has worked in advertising design
& is now starting out in multimedia - different from advertising
but still incorporatings design and conceptualisation.
• March 2004: Piecemakers in
Empowering women through vocational skills learned in SARID's "Piecemakers"
program is the subject of an article by Sameen Tahir-Khan in the
Arab News, the major English language daily serving the Middle East:
"Fighting against all odds," Arab News,
March 12, 2004 ... more
2004: Piecemakers learn English
Books & magazines on quilting are in English, a language that
many students at the Centre do not know. As translating instructions
into Urdu has proven not to be the answer, Donny Wright
from the Quilters Guild suggested that the students be taught English.
SARID has now hired a Montessori-trained teacher, Kiran
Riaz, to start the "Learn English" program to
enable the women to converse & express themselves in English.
20 women, ages ranging from 18 to 50 years, have enrolled to date
as part of the SARID School Program's Vocational
Training/Adult Literacy component.
• SARID in
KARACHI: South Asia Research Institute for Policy and Development
(SARID), based in Boston, has launched a project for providing free
education to illiterate and underprivileged women in the metropolis.
"SARID launches ‘education project for women’",
News International, Pakistan, January 14, 2004 ...more
November 2003: Award-winning
volunteer joins Piecemakers
an excellent quilter who has won several awards in the USA, has
volunteered to join the Piecemakers program at the Rehman Shah Vocational
Centre and work with the students. Her professional approach is
sure to inspire them to produce works of great beauty and utility.
Piecemakers: six months on
SARID Project Coordinator
Six months after my last stint at the Shah Vocational Centre,
I re-visited the students, now in the capable hands of Rehana, who
oversaw the quilting, and my sister-in-law Tahira, who made sure
that the classes ran smoothly and were well supplied. In addition
to her help, Tahira's input about color schemes and quilt layout
has been invaluable.
I did not expect too much from the students, as it was all new
to them and proficiency would take time. I found that while not
all the students had stayed with the program, those who did had
improved their quilting skills to a remarkable extent. SARID's executive
director, Javed Sultan, who visited the school, was impressed by
what had been achieved in six months and offered bonuses for their
work. This monetary award encouraged other girls to join.
The students who dropped out did so mainly for financial reasons.
As these girls run their households while their mothers go out to
work as maids, time spent on projects detracted heavily from domestic
chores. We have now come up with a solution for this problem by
talking to the girls who want to stay with program and identifying
their needs. We found that putting them on a stipend would enable
them to re-join. For this purpose we have established the “Adopt
a Quilter” scheme, whereby the girls are paid to
learn the craft of quilting. The stipend is for a period of two
years, at the end of which the beneficiaries will be assessed and
helped to establish themselves. This assistance could take the form
of getting employment suitable to their skills or of setting up
their own business.
The students at the Shah Vocational Centre are part of the SARID
School Program's Vocational Training/Adult Literacy component.
Though our focus is on women and specifically on teaching them quilting,
the students also learn embroidery and dressmaking. Dressmaking
is extremely important as the girls save money by sewing clothes
for themselves and their families. Most importantly, in our endeavor
to teach patchwork quilting, we also run a literacy program for
those girls who cannot read or write. Additionally, they are learning
a craft which involves accurate measurement, focus and time management.
Computer access is also available through the Shah Secondary School.
As they become proficient, the students will develop into competent,
capable women. By staying with the program and continuing their
education they have a better chance of being the entrepreneurs of
Piecemakers: full story
Quilt Exhibition 2004, Karachi
Quilt Exhibition 2003, Karachi
See also: School Program - Shah School