Ruby Porter MBE visited Sreepur in March 2012. She has brought home some photographs of her time there, working on our “Fish” kantha hanging with Shabita.The hanging will be displayed in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral during June 2012. Art teacher Mr Salime is also shown along with our “Fish” kantha.
Ruby is also in the weaving section with Rafiqul working on new scarves in wool and Jute. They are lovely and warm for the UK.
There is a photo of new mum age 14 with her 6 week old baby born on the street in Dhaka. She is now doing embroidery with the other mothers.You can also view our baby getting washed outside the baby house at Sreepur.
There are also pictures of the Charity’s new project in a slum about 5 miles from Dhaka working with street children. We rent this reed hut during the day. We have 3 of our ex- children, who were street children, running this project.This is one of two new projects- we hope to open another drop in center by the airport soon. I am with Janette in October 2011 it is going well I visited again a few weeks ago.
Ruby came to Merseyside Embroiderers’ Guild during May 2012 to speak about her travels and work within the Spreepur Orphanage and Women’s Refuge………
May 2012 TALK “The Embroideries of Bangladesh” by Rubina Porter MBE (don’t forget to look at the second page of photos) Report by Kim Parkman
It started with seven suitcases of sewing equipment and a lot of hope… In 1990 Rubina Porter, a long-term member of our Guild, set off for Sreepur Village in rural Bangladesh to pass on her embroidery skills to the women and children at the local orphanage. Little did she think that she would be returning for her 32nd visit in 2012.
She told us about the beauty of the landscape but the hard life of the destitute women. The orphanage offers a safe home with education and training in embroidery, tailoring and other skills. Women leave with some savings and are able to support their children. Now there are even two outreach facilities for urban street children, who are given a chance of family life, food and an education.
The ethos of Sreepur is to support local skills and customs, not to impose Western ideas. Natural dyes are made from native plants and foodstuffs; cards decorated with straw on handmade paper; scarves woven in silk and cotton and goods decorated with traditional embroidery skills. All are sold at Ruby’s stalls to raise funds for the project.
Sabita, the new embroidery teacher, is a member of the Merseyside Branch. She was abandoned as a toddler and raised at Sreepur. Training enabled her to lead an independent life but she has now returned to pass on her skills to the next generations. As Ruby commented, she is ‘a real success story’.