Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update on the Bitengye Designers

It is now just over 4 months since we returned from Uganda, and thoughts of the Bitengye Designers and the widows and their families are never very far from our minds. We're already thinking about what new projects or designs we will teach the women when we return again in January. Our present plan is to meet with Alice for at least a week before all the other women arrive, so that we can teach her these new things. Then she will teach the other women, with our support, for the workshop itself. But what has happened since we left? Well, we've had 2 large shipments of items, and sales for most of these

is going very well. We now have people in five different provinces helping us sell what they make. Alice has the roof on her school. And at least one of the tourist craft shops in Kampala at which we left their products has sold out of them. We are gradually handing over more of the management of the orders to Alice, with Nightingale (you may remember that she was our wonderful translator this year) and Perez, helping Alice understand and reply to the emails we send to her. In addition to the already sponsored secondary school students we have, we've begun a scholarship to Alice's sewing

school. The first student started in the spring, and now a group of quilters in Whistler has made a second scholarship available. (It cost about $150 for a year's tuition.) We have had two Singer Featherweight sewing machines donated to Alice, and will arrange for these to be set up with solar power when we are next in Uganda. And we have received donations of 5 more sewing machines for next year's project. We are investigating possible new crafts to teach the women, and hopefully a few new women, and will be trying to practice one or two over the summer ourselves, in order to be ready to teach others. A group of quilters in Victoria is busy working on the next raffle quilt, and framed batiks will soon be available for purchase. Thank you to all of you who are supporting this very small grass-roots project. As most of you know, we raise all our own funds to carry on with this, and couldn't do it without the help of so many of you. So, many, many thanks to each and every one of you.


  1. What a fantastic update, Pippa. It is so nice to hear of the many different quilting groups here at home that are keen to support the Bitengye women and their continued learning! I look forward to seeing the new products and designs when you visit us in North Vancouver next.

  2. Hello!

    Are you possibly selling Ugandan-made quilts or quilt fabrics? I am looking to purchase a quilt as a congratulatory gift (first child) for a sweet family that has done many medical and missionary trips to Uganda and have such a heart for Ugandans.

    Please email any information you might have? That would be a blessing!!! Thank you in advance,

    P.S. Valerie Hearder requested I let you know that she sent me your way! :)

  3. Come and meet Pippa and see the Ugandan women on the big screen. Bring some cash to buy a colourful wall hanging, placemats, handbags, and more! October 8th, 7:00pm Comox United Church.

    The "Bitengye Designers" products will also be available for sale at four Fair Trade Fairs on Northern Vancouver Island.
    Parksville -Knox United Church-Nov.6-10to 3pm
    Courtenay -Filberg Center- Fiesta World Craft Bazaar- Nov.20th -10 to 4pm
    Port Alberni-Echo Community Center- Nov.27 10 to 4pm
    Campbell River -Timberline Secondary School- December 4th 10 to 4pm