Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Making a difference

Monday 21st October
We meet almost every month and we smile and say "hello". We will chat about our sewing and perhaps our families, but how much do we really know about our fellow members?

When our own Chris Mitchell stood up to talk to us about her project Bags of Difference few of us could have suspected that we had invited such a powerful source of goodness into our midst!  The story starts in 2008 after a visit to Kisiizi hospital in southern Uganda.  Chris had gone out with husband Ed and some other friends to volunteer in the  school at Kisiizi.  She soon realised that even free schools in Uganda requires their pupils to wear a uniform and purchase their own stationary - a tall order when even the most qualified staff only earn £30 per month.  Chris wondered how she could help the local people supplement their income and give their children the education they so desperately wanted. 

Inspiration came in the form of brightly coloured African fabric.  Taking several meters of cloth home, Chris made patchwork bags and sold them to friends. This gave her the seed fund to return the next year and not only buy more fabric but teach the ladies of Kisiizi how to make their own bags. Chris now sells the bags on behalf of the workers and sends every penny back to Africa - no commission, no costs, no overheads.  Over 200 children have benefitted as a result of her dedication and inspiration. 

Chris and her husband spend much of their time giving talks to introduce the project and sell more bags - in fact it was Ed who did much of the talking because Chris had a particularly nasty cough.  The project is very personal, they know all the workers and their stories of heroic effort in order to give their children the best start in life. When you buy a bag you understand a little of what a difference your money will make to someone thousands of miles away in a corner of Uganda.  Thank you Chris!

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