Tag: charity

Detailed Hand-Work Puts Charm Into African Pieces

Read below an excerpt from a piece in the November 2012 issue of the Kootenay Quilters’ Day Guild Newsletter. The article focuses on the work of one of the founding members of Malambo Grassroots with the women’s group in Zambia!

Squares for Quilts Drying in the Zambian Sun

The Malambo Grassroots organization is a success story that makes Marylee Banyard feel a great sense of inner contentment. Over the course of the last 20 years, Marylee has seen the women involved in the organization develop their skills and flourish. As a grassroots organization, they hone their handiwork so that it can easily be sold at fundraisers in Canada. Many quilters purchase the hand-embroidered pieces and make them into attractive wall hangings or quilts, such as the work of Nellie Shukin depicted above. Money is used to support community initiatives sponsored by the women and is also critical to the success of ongoing maintenance of plumbing in the centre and the preventive maintenance of 2 industrial sewing machines and 6 other machines. In addition to Marylee’s efforts, the Rotary Club of Nelson generously donated tables and chairs and an industrial sewing machine to the centre. Private donors have also assisted to ensure that the centre flourishes.

This year Marylee will assist with a project to enhance the work of the local PTA. A guest speaker will talk about the childrens’ education. The women of the centre will then break into 6 groups to discuss issues surrounding the presentation and will develop an embroidered banner depicting their discussion issue and possible ways to resolve the issue. This whole process is also aired in the media. The sense of community involvement and development is significant.

A great 103 miles!

Geoff Cross on a training ride up Mt.Baker

At the end of September, Geoff Cross rode for Malambo Grassroots in the 103 mile Levi’s GranFondo cycling event. Geoff had a great ride finishing 80th out of the thousands of participants! Thank you so much, Geoff, for your support!
Read here his summary of his day:

Typical of the Bay Area, the day started with some fog and cold, making way to beautiful hot sunny skies in the mountains before dropping down into the fog bank hanging over the pacific coast. It didn’t rain thankfully, as the course was even more technically demanding than I had been told- Besides the 7.500 other riders, there were lots cracks and potholes and tree-lined, switch back descents to keep one senses firing all day.

It is a spectacularly well-organized event with rest/food stations just where you need them. I knew that a key to a good performance would be eating and drinking more than you feel like. While not a recipe for day to day diet, I credit the peanut butter and jam sandwiches and coke, combined with the terrifically supportive atmosphere, and getting to share it with friends, that kept unexpected levels of pep in my legs all day.

A bike in Zambia

It was the best road ride that I have ever had the luxury of undertaking. Some/many big rides are Type 2 fun- painful and full of suffering during and only enjoyable after they are done with the sense of accomplishment; however, every so often you do a big ride that is Type 1 fun- huge smile inducing all day long, even though you are breathing hard. I think of it as being in the state of “Flow” that athletics, music, art, and other endeavors can bring when everything comes together in just the right doses.”

Geoff told us that he was happy to have had the opportunity to do the ride and support Malambo, and we are so grateful to Geoff! Thank you!

Goat or no goat? Part 2: Where do we go from here?


Harriet is a member of the Malambo Women's Group, which was our first initiative. It's an income generating group for women.


How do we get beyond addressing only the immediate needs of Zambians? What is the next step, after providing food, for example? How do we get beyond the need to provide this bandaid-style charity, because, to tell the truth, we have been working in Zambia for many years, and still there are now even more in need.

I think giving to address primary needs is still important. 

But it needs to be linked to education. Education is the next step.  It gets people to the point where they have the ability to improve their futures themselves.

These villagers need more access to education. They need support so they can continue beyond, they need better schools and a strong curriculum, they need access to scholarships, college, and university. If they don’t manage to finish high school, they need skills training so they have the chance at a career. 

Giving education is a gift that lasts all one’s life. Not only that, it spreads beyond the individual. It opens the doors to good jobs in countries like Zambia that are in short supply of an educated workforce. These educated workers send money home to their village relatives and they sponsor younger relatives to further their education. 

Malambo Grassroots has worked for years on a shoestring—small funds and few people resources. However, we have constantly tried to maximized our impact. When we are in Zambia, we are volunteers, living rent-free and with a support system offered by the farm where we stay— security, power, a network of people who help us here and there. With this we have the ability to maximize our outreach.

With our first few dollars we decided to start an income generating project for women. The women asked us. We have found that the women’s first priority with their income is their family–food, clothing, medical needs, and schooling expenses for their children. So we started some more income generating projects. We were able to minimize our need for money by starting simple craft-based projects, and maximize on our ability to donate our time for training. We kept expenses low. We had to.

So time has been one of our resources. We kept going back to Zambia. Our projects were running. What more could we do?  

Next post is the third and final section of this essay: What more could we do?

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