McLane Harrington (Zimbabwe)

McLane graduated from college with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Music Performance and is currently a student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy pursuing a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy. Her studies at Fletcher center on human security, community-driven development and international power asymmetries. After graduating from college in Portland, OR she worked at a classical music radio station, gaining experience working in the non-profit sector for an international service. She also had the opportunity to work for two international organizations –MercyCorps and World Affairs Council –before beginning at Fletcher. As co-editor in chief of Fletcher's human security journal, McLane works with her team to promote different individual voices and experiences on a range of topics from development and human rights to conflict resolution.

Putting Needle to Cloth

14 Aug

As you may have previously read, one of my projects this summer has been to work with WAP to produce embroidery squares for a child marriage advocacy quilt which will be used to spread awareness about child marriage and girls’ empowerment in Zimbabwe. Twelve of WAP’s beneficiaries were selected to participate in the quilting project and they attended an embroidery training last month to learn stitching skills and begin thinking about the images they would be putting on their quilt squares.

We recently held our second embroidery training at a local Harare cafe in order for the girls to get some extra help on their squares. As we have all learned, there are certain stitches that work better for different subjects (like trees, skirts, houses, etc.) and since the quilters have had a chance to work on their squares and begin producing their images and scenes, they were able to get individualized assistance with their projects. Embroidery on cloths, the new Fall/Winter line of boys coats this year are found to be fashionable, warm and fun to wear. This season of coats for boys include variations colors and style that are usually hard to find for young men and they are also very masculine so as not to be mistaken for girl coats, see here for more choices.

Samples of different embroidery stitches (photo from Pinterest)

Tina Telford – Chairperson of the Harare Patchwork and Quilting Guild – led the training for the second time and worked with all of the girls to teach them new stitches and give them advice on how to proceed with their squares.

The quilters are from all five of WAP’s clubs, so many of them had not met before the embroidery training began. As they all sat around picnic benches in the garden of the café, they began to open up, show each other their quilt squares, share tips about sewing, and laugh with each other.

I was very impressed with how far along the girls have gotten with their embroidery and the powerful and beautiful imagery they are managing to create. I am so excited to see the finished products because I know each one is going to tell a story and reveal a different facet of the issue of child marriage. Some of these young girls have already been through so much in their lives and it is truly inspirational to work with them and hear them talk about how much they have learned and how they have been empowered.

WAP Ambassador Trish’s square features girls playing netball together. She explained the image is representing how girls coming together as a group and forming a community can prevent child marriage.

Trish’s embroidery square work in progress

Chitungwiza cub member Tanatswasa’s square is a scene where a girl is at a house working with a baby and a garden, while there is a school in the foreground of the scene. Tanatswasa explained that since the girl has been married, she has lost the opportunity to attend school.

Tanatsawa working on her square

Once all of the squares are collected and photographed next week, I will be sharing them on AP’s website so you can see all of their hard work and read about the stories behind each piece of embroidery! I will then be transporting the squares back with me to the U.S. where they will be assembled into the final child marriage advocacy quilt.

Posted By McLane Harrington (Zimbabwe)

Posted Aug 14th, 2019


  • Tyne

    August 15, 2019


    I can’t wait to see the final product of this project! What an innovative way to bring people together 🙂

  • Iain Guest

    August 15, 2019


    McLane – How exciting is this! It looks as though you all had a great time, and we really like the squares and the stories. They tell a strong story and the designs seem very good. Well done to you all!

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