This Friday – as part of Christmas Jumper day – we'll all be donning our festive jumpers and donating 10% of the day's takings to three of our favourite, textile-related charities and social enterprises.
The Butterfly Tree helps to increase awareness and raise funds to assist the fight against malaria in Zambia. The charity provides malaria prevention in the form of testing kits, mosquito nets and educational workshops in remote villages. Early testing is imperative – although malaria cannot be cured it can be easily treated. Workshops inform the people of the importance of being tested and how sleeping under insecticide-treated nets can save lives.
The Butterfly Tree provides thousands of insecticide-treated mosquito nets for rural communities. Until there is a cure for malaria mosquito nets are the most universally used method of protection. It is vital for children under five and pregnant women to use bed nets for malaria prevention. Malaria kills one child every sixty seconds.
Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self-esteem.
In prisons all across the UK, inmates are filling their hours embroidering highly-crafted cushions, bags, pictures and patchwork quilts. The work is of a superb quality as prisoners are taught and supported by volunteers from the Embroiderers and Quilters Guild.
The prisoners are paid for their work, which is then sold around the world; pieces are the perfect choice for handmade gifts. Some pieces are interior design commissions, others heritage pieces for organisations.
“We believe a true Craftivist uses craft as a tool for gentle activism aimed at influencing long-term change.”
Craftivist Collective was founded in 2009 when after years of marches, signing protests and working on campaigns for large charities, experienced activist Sarah Corbett had begun to doubt the effects of some conventional activism and sadly didn’t feel that she fitted in to many activist groups. The time felt right too add a slower and less aggressive approach to the activism toolkit
An urge to get back to making things with her hands at the same time of feeling like a burnt out activist led her on the journey of becoming a craftivist. Sarah saw how she could use some of the beneficial processes of craft and the final products as tools for a more gentle, respectful and more targeted way of doing activism. Although as a principle ‘Craftivism’ already existed, it took no time for Sarah to develop her own approach she calls ‘Gentle Protest’. One focused first on putting the contemplative moments spent stitching to work for the maker; exploring global issues and using craft for critical thinking. But then the finished craft piece are used in different ways to engage, empower and encourage people to become part of the change we need to see in the world.
“If we want the world to be more beautiful, kind and fair, then shouldn’t our activism also be more beautiful, kind and fair?”
Sarah is currently running her 'adopt a craftivist' campaign where individuals can support the Craftivist Collective with £10 each month. Find our more here.