THARS School of Quilt Making
Following his own powerful experience of healing through forgiveness, David Niyonzima of Burundi recognized that the way forward for his war-torn nation was through the path of personal healing. Through his work at Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services—THARS (see www.THARS.org) —David works to bring about the healing of his country through forgiveness of past hurts and the establishment of trust with the hope of living
at peace in the future.
Working with THARS, Peace Through Pieces offers quilt making as one means of trauma healing for the THARS women’s support groups. These groups comprise women who are victims of torture or sexual violence in the recent and continuing bloody conflict in central Africa.
Peace Through Pieces provides training in quilt making by conducting week-long workshops organized through Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services of Burundi.
Each group to be trained sends two representatives chosen by its members. The representatives come to one location. We provide transportation, and accommodations for the trainees. Sewing machines, fabrics and supplies are provided by Peace Through Pieces as well as trained quilting teachers. The week-long intensive training covers the making of a quilt from start to finish. By the end of the week, the participants are certified to teach introductory quilt making.
The support groups are given a text with step-by-step instructions on general quilt making as well as directions for making eight different quilt patterns. The trained representatives then are able to teach quilt making to their fellow support group members.
For each support group trained, one sewing machine and enough supplies and materials to make quilts for a year are given by Peace Through Pieces to THARS to continue the work of quilting as healing art.
So far, Peace Through Pieces has conducted two week-long quilting training workshops. The workshops have trained a total of 32 quilting teachers who have been able to take their new found knowledge and skills back to their support groups
and teach quilt making for the purpose of trauma healing.
THARS has used these quilts in a variety of ways. They have sold some in an effort to continue the work of quilting as trauma healing. And they have given some as gifts to women who are ill or greatly traumatized. The quilts are a token of God’s love and an aid to their healing.
The next school of quilt making will take place in September 2009 at the Peace Center in Uvira in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (See “NEW! Quilt Making in Congo” on page 1.)
Planning and fund raising are underway now to make that possible.
Graduates from the quilt class
Working on a quilt
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