Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Community quilting initiative

Article submitted by:  Iessie Steenberg

Annetjie Fourie - Social Worker
When Mrs. Iessie Steenberg felt a pressing desire to give more than merely her expected share to the Lord, she was not quite sure how she could achieve this. As fate (?) would have it, she soon made the acquaintance of Annetjie Fourie, a social worker in the rural township of Botshabelo. When Iessie shared this feeling with Annetjie, a partnership was born in which Iessie could supply her innate talent and love for quilting, whilst Annetjie supplied the venue.

This venue would turn out to be the multi-functional community centre in Botshabelo, which houses the local offices of the ANC, a library, computer centre and a doctor’s office. Even though Iessie lived ninety-five kilometres away, just outside Bloemfontein, and supplied her own petrol money, she knew that this was the opportunity that she was seeking.

Initially, Iessie began by making a Potholder, thereby taking the women through the entire process of quilting. At that stage fourteen women were present, but eventually only nine remained to start the more advanced yet infinitely more rewarding task of creating their own bedding quilts. The necessary materials were generously sponsored by many women from Bloemfontein, and even Wisconsin, U.S.A.

All the work is done by hand, and Iessie visits the women once a month to provide them with help, advice and whatever support she can provide. During these sessions work was started on a quilt that will eventually be donated to a child at Bartimea school for the blind in Thaba`Nchu.
To say that this has brought all these women together would be an understatement. By praying for these women and any problems they may have been experiencing, Iessie has brought them closer to God and the impact on some of them is clearly visible. By learning to create their own quilts and warm bedding, these women are gaining something priceless; knowledge that can be handed down to future generations.
Iessie with the group of ladies
 Iessie feels that it is these small actions that will eventually lead to a better relationship between the different races and cultures in this country. Much like a quilt, the eventual result will be beautiful.

O. Marais (author)

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