Adrienne Henck

Adrienne Henck (Backward Society Education - BASE): Adrienne graduated from New York University with a Master’s degree in International Education. After her graduation, Adrienne worked at PCI-Media Impact, an NGO that uses creative media and story-telling to mobilize people and communities in sexual and reproductive health. Adrienne also taught English for three years with the J.E.T. Program. When she undertook her fellowship, Adrienne was preparing to pursue a Ph.D. at Penn State University. After her fellowship, she wrote: “I know that (this) experience is going to have a lasting impact on my academic and professional career. I loved Nepal and plan to return as soon as possible. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for how much we have in America."

The Children’s Love Blanket: Telling the Story of the Fight Against Child Labor

26 Aug

While the heavy issue of child labor sat at the heart of my summer work, sometimes the most important issue of the moment was deciding with a young girl:  “Should we use the light blue or the dark blue cloth to create the clouds in that picture?”.  These lighthearted concerns were part of the several weeks I spent visiting Child Friendly Villages and working with over 200 Child Club members to produce two Children’s Love Blankets.  The blankets are advocacy tools which represent a Child Friendly Village’s commitment to end child labor and promote children’s rights, including the right to education.  Most importantly, though, the blankets provide a medium through which Child Friendly Villages can tell their side of the story.

The Concept:  Protecting Nepal’s Children

A freed child laborer in the documentary, The Price of Childhood, produced by 2009 Peace Fellow, Kan Yan, commented, “The worst part about child labor is that we [child laborers] can’t get any love or affection from our families because we are away from them.”  The Children’s Love Blanket represents a Child Friendly Village’s commitment to give that love and affection to their children.  Blankets have a special meaning as a kind of security.  We feel warm and comforted when we are surrounded by a blanket.  In the same way, the village is saying to its children, “Through this blanket we made for you, we are vowing to protect you”.

The Process:  The Making of the Children’s Love Blanket

Along with a BASE staff member, I visited nine Child Friendly Villages.  After the children (and sometimes adult Child Friendly Village Committee members) gathered at the village community center, I explained the purpose of the blanket and asked if they were interested in participating.  Of course, they always said “yes”!   The children then worked in teams to each produce one square of the blanket.

A BASE staff member explains how to make the blanket while displaying an example square.  The picture in this square represents the hope that all children will have a bright and beautiful future.

Here’s what the blanket-making process looked like:

A group discusses which children’s rights message to express in their blanket square.

A young girl makes a practice drawing.

Children choose the solid-colored backing cloth for their blanket square.

Scrap salwar kurta cloth was donated by a local tailor.  The children enjoyed choosing the right colors for their pictures from the pile of cloth.

Next, the children cut the pictures from the scrap cloth…

…and then sewed the pictures onto the square backing using needle and thread.

Once the squares were finished, the children wrote their names, ages and the meaning of their picture on a piece of paper…

…and finally we took a photo of each of the groups with their masterpiece!

A local tailor sewed the squares together, adding borders and a backing.

And here’s the finished Children’s Love Blankets!

BASE staff members proudly hold up the finished Children's Love Blankets.

The Continuing Story:  The Blanket as an Advocacy Tool

Ultimately, two blankets were made:  one will stay in Nepal to be used in BASE’s advocacy, and the other will go to America to be used for outreach.  BASE plans to use the blanket to:

– generate awareness about child labor and children’s rights by carrying the blanket in marches, rallies, and protests;

– influence the decisions of parents by taking the blanket when trying to persuade parents of child laborers to bring their children back home; and

– impact national and international policy by bringing the blanket to policy meetings with government officials in Kathmandu, UN members, and other NGOS to help share the story of Child Friendly Villages.

In America, the blanket will travel throughout the country, spreading the story of the Child Friendly Villages.  Events, in which The Price of Childhood will also be screened, are already planned at the Mercy Corps Action Center in New York City and at the University of Maryland. 

I have been touched by my experiences with BASE’s Child Friendly Villages.  Help me to tell their story.


If you are interested in attending or hosting a blanket/documentary event, please contact me.

Posted By Adrienne Henck

Posted Aug 26th, 2010


  • Cynthia

    August 27, 2010


    I wonder if we could have you speak at the Food Coop if and when you decide to take a holiday break and visit NYC. Maybe between semesters? It would have to be planned in advance and I’d be glad to look into it if you decide you’d like to do this.

  • Adrienne Henck

    August 27, 2010



    I would love to speak at the Food Coop! Or perhaps even show the film as a part of one of the film nights? I will follow up with you about this.


  • Karen Lohn

    January 25, 2011


    I am requesting permission to use images of the Love Blanket Project from your website in a book that I am writing entitled Peace Fibres: Stitching a Soulful World. In it, I enlist fibre work as metaphor and manifestation of harmonious relationship to self, others, and the larger world. I would use this photograph in a chapter calling attention to issues of women and children globally, including child labor.

    May I use the images? I would need a high resolution version. I did speak to Ian from the Advocacy Project, but have not been able to get an email through to him. Please advise of any fees involved. I would, of course, cite your project and give your website as source.

    Peace Fibres will be self published through Integral Press. I anticipate printing in early 2011, with an initial run of 2500.

    Thanks for considering my request. I look forward to your response.

    Karen Lohn

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it’s the only thing that ever has…” – Margaret Mead

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