Stitching for unity with the American Women’s Association
Time Out Bahrain staff
A few months back we told you about the big American Women’s Association (AWA) quilt project, now we bring you the result which is going on show across the country.
The idea for the quilt was launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development, spearheaded by the AWA and run under the umbrella of the Wehda Wahda (Let’s Unite) campaign.
Aimed at bringing together Bahrain’s communities the idea was to encourage Bahrainis, residents and expats to get involved to produce something beautiful reflecting all the country’s different backgrounds, sects and religions.
During the course of the project, training sessions were provided to bring together underprivileged Bahraini women to teach them how to make quilts and enhance their skills.
“Women are the backbone and the silent strength of society, so helping them helps the whole society. A part of the project is women’s empowerment, so we wanted to teach underprivileged women how to make quilts so that they can make a living out of it,” said Jarna Jeet, chairperson to the Quilt Project.
There were two aspects to the project, unity and empowerment, and the AWA feels it’s achieved both and has established a long-term goal both with the short-term training of Bahraini women and, for the long term, the knowledge that this is continuing with some projects which took part continuing to teach quilting and getting locals involved.
Now the quilt has been completed with approximately 90 blocks - 3.2m in height and 11.5m in length - and after touring the island will go on show at Bahrain National Museum.
Here’s what some of the quilters said.
Ameena Mohamed Ebrahim Khan (part of a women’s group which made several quilt blocks) We had the idea to present a block that shows our national culture, especially at the time of the anniversary of the constitution, that we are proud with and for our beloved kingdom and the wise leadership. Co-operation is the principle that we are proud of and working together with people from different nationalities gave us a new understanding. Also working together with other Bahraini ladies from different areas of the country gave us the opportunity to exchange experiences.
Asuntha Anthony (nurse at Salmaniya Hospital) Thank you for encouraging me to make this block a successful one. My heart felt inspiration from Bahrain and its people to help the sickle cell disease patients who suffer and die. I would like to encourage people to help sickle cell disease patients by donating blood. Thank you all and may your workshops continue forever.
Cypriot Consulate We wanted to create a design which would highlight similarities between Bahrain and Cyprus, both countries being islands have the sea and its related activities playing a significant role in their history, culture and industry. As our central theme we selected the sail monument which is dedicated to one of Bahrain’s most important industries, pearl diving. For our border we wanted to incorporate the olive branch from the Cypriot flag and the palm branch commonly seen in Bahrain, both symbols of peace, wisdom and triumph.
Boy Scouts of America Boys from each off the four patrols in the island’s troop took part in designing their block. They said: “Knowing that the quilt will be part of a bigger quilt that will unite Bahrain, it gave me a feeling of fulfillment.” “I was proud to have been part of and give my contribution to the project, I am pleased with the result and think it looks good..”