Chantal Uwizera

Chantal Uwizera (Backward Society Education – BASE): Chantal was born in Rwanda and came to the US at a young age. Growing up in Rwanda and its tragic history gave her an acute sense of the importance of human rights. Chantal received her bachelor degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Indianapolis in 2006. Upon graduation, she worked with the Indiana local and state governments. At the time of her fellowship, she was pursuing her Masters at American University in the School of International Service in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program with a special concentration on human rights advocacy and international litigation. After her fellowship Chantal wrote: “The experience reminded me to take time and just enjoy the people around you… [and] to see the human aspect of child labor.”

The Child love blanket completed.. Byana project next…

07 Aug

As promised, below are the pictures of the final product, the love blanket. It is probably better to start this blog by congratulating AP fellow, Maelanny who was also a peace fellow with BASE and had begun the blanket project prior to my arrival. The blanket represents paintings from 77% of former child laborers from Banke and Bardiya districts. After the collection of all the panels, they were assembled in two blankets. I really enjoyed meeting the children and understanding child labor issues. If you are in the United States, I will be inviting you to one of the events that I hope to organize upon my return. The quilts are a powerful tool of advocacy, a way that the children can relate to us on their experiences as child laborers and on the need for all of us to do what we can to eradicate the child labor practice. Maelanny will do the same in her home country Indonesia as well as when she returns to school at Oslo University. In the past, past fellows have been able to raise money for their organization and I am hoping that we can follow in their footsteps as BASE is doing a lot of good work in the community and can use more resources, especially in rescuing more children from child labor.


BASE staff with the two blanketsThe love blanket

The love blanket

The inspiration to create another quilt, this time showcasing the Tharu culture came during my field visit with Maelanny to Bardiya District. I met Asmitha Chaudhary who invited me to her house and to meet her family. During our walk around her neighborhood, I observe her sister making a ‘byana.” A byana or as called in Tharu language “banka” is a hand fan, unique to the Tharu community. It I beautifully made of wool of colorful colors as well as bamboo sticks. I am particularly interested in creating a quilt out of these byana because; most of people who are affected by child labor practices as well as bonded labor are Tharu. The end result will be a compilation of these byana sewed together into a quilt. Unlike the love blankets where we had an idea of the end result, I have no clue on the byana project. This is a learning process for me and of course you will all be joining me on this journey. For now, cross all fingers that it turns out to be a good quilt.


Bayna. A Tharu hand fan.  By Chantal U.

Bayna- a Tharu tradition

Posted By Chantal Uwizera

Posted Aug 7th, 2011

1 Comment

  • pegah

    August 9, 2011


    Chantal the blanket looks so beautiful! congratulations to you and all involved with making this spectacular advocacy piece

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