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.
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.
Posted By Chantal Uwizera
Posted Aug 7th, 2011