Charlotte Bourdillon

Charlotte Bourdillon (Kakenya Center for Excellence – KCE): In the summer of 2009, Charlotte worked with an indigenous women's weaving group in Temuco, Chile. She received her B.A. in Community Health and International Relations from Tufts University in 2010. Prior to her AP fellowship, Charlotte also worked with a health and community-led development initiative in Haiti, called RESPE:Ayiti. Charlotte also interned at Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, MA. After her fellowship Charlotte wrote: “I can look at so many deliverables that I am proud of; things I am especially happy to have been able to achieve in the low-resource area I was working in."

Quilting Project Update!

19 Sep

"Without education, you must work in the farm," Vivian says as she explains her panel to me..

I mentioned before that one of my goals here is to create a set of advocacy quilts. These will be parallel quilts created by a widows’ group and the girls at our school, demonstrating, respectively, the traditional oppression of Maasai women and the opportunities that education will afford young Maasai girls. Cleia documented the quilting process with the Rehema women well in her August blog post. I want to give a quick visual of how phenomenally the quilting project with the girls is going; I will let the photos guide this post.

"Cultural Awareness" class: The girls are helped by local beadwork expert Parako to learn about the beneficial parts of their culture, and to learn how to sew beads in the traditional style.


Parako demonstrates the proper technique. Only around 20% of the girls had been taught how to create traditional beadwork by their mothers or grandmothers. Again, Kakenya works to emphasize positive aspects of Maasai culture while also educating about the harmful aspects.

A class 6 pupil during the drawing stage. The girls were prompted with themes of "the importance of education" or "how will I use my education?"

Class 6 holds up their drawings, ready to begin beading the quilting squares.

Peyiai wants to be a pilot when she grows up!
Kakenya Centre for Excellence girls use their free time to bead (or, "shona shanga") their stories on the lawn.

Shona shanga! The girls love having a craft to work on during their free time. I keep finding them in the classroom working on their projects during lunch!

Gladys, in front, is creating a panel about how she would like to build a school for handicapped children when she grows up.


The lovely Gladys again, with her panel.


The final product: Here we see a panel created by Brenda Nashipai, explaining that eucation is important because you can learn about things to which you are not normally exposed, like the internet.

We are almost finished with the panels that the Rehema Widows’ Group is making, too. The next step will be to document each woman and child’s story to create a sort of “cliff notes” to accompany the quilts.

I am on my way out of the country for a month. I had intended to leave my fellowship now… but I just love what we are doing here too much and cannot seem to rip myself away from Enoosaen for good, so I’ll be back in October!

Posted By Charlotte Bourdillon

Posted Sep 19th, 2011


  • Annette

    September 19, 2011


    How exciting! Would be great to set the girls up w-more quilting and/or beading supplies after this project concludes.

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