County Limerick sewing group put a lot of love in every stitch for orphans in Tanzania

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

When the Crafty Angels counted up their items they had five dresses, 101 skirts and 240 drawstring bags for children in a Tanzanian orphanage Picture: Michael Cowhey

When the Crafty Angels counted up their items they had five dresses, 101 skirts and 240 drawstring bags for children in a Tanzanian orphanage Picture: Michael Cowhey

THE CRAFTY Angels latest handiwork will be heaven sent to children in an orphanage in Tanzania.

Over 30 ladies meet every Monday morning in the Millennium Centre in Caherconlish. They combine a chat, a cuppa, and an interest in all forms of craft with charity work. Their latest endeavours resulted in five dresses, 101 skirts and 240 drawstring bags for the children in Kidzcare in Dar es Salaam.

Added to that, some of the ladies who do not sew bought gifts of colouring books, shoes and socks, colouring pencils, hair decorations and brushes, underwear and other suitable gifts.

Elizabeth Stanley, from Caherline, set up the Crafty Angels with the late and much missed Maureen Kenny in late 2013.

“We were delighted when we did a final count and realised just how much we had. People were so good. A lot of fabric was donated to us. Several ladies visited charity shops in the city in search of pretty pillowcases and turned them into lovely skirts. People donated tape and elastic and really all we had to do was supply the machinery, thread and talent to make it all come true. When we looked at all the garments and gifts piled up on three tables we all realised that there was a whole lot of love in every stitch,” said Elizabeth.

This is their third involvement with Kidzcare through their friend Imelda O'Riordan who lives in Bruff. She will travel to Tanzania with all their items. Two years ago they sent a consignment of 65 skirts they made for school-going age children and the year before that they made bags for the older girls to carry their personal things to school, as well as some skirts.

“As a group we get a lot of personal satisfaction from helping such a worthwhile cause and making a difference in the lives of the children who have not had the benefit of an ideal start in life,” said Elizabeth.

Over the years they have made about 1,000 caps for the Innocent Smoothie bottles to raise funds for Age Action Ireland. They have made and donated over 60 quilts to the Bumbleance charity. Incubator covers, tiny little caps and snuggle blankets were given to the neo-natal ward in University Maternity Hospital Limerick and therapy dolls and Freddy bags for the ark unit in University Hospital Limerick.

They have also made quite a lot of fidget quilts for nursing homes as gifts for dementia patients.

“These lovely people find it hard to still their hands - hands that have never stopped working for 70, 80 or 90 years and don't know quite how to occupy themselves when the mind stops telling them what to do. The quilts have zips, ribbons, buttons and pockets and are made from squares of differently textured fabrics,” she explains.

The Crafty Angels have grown from five members to currently 36. They come from as far away as Mitchelstown and Kildimo. More are welcome every Monday from 10am.

“We celebrate with each other on happy occasions and support each other when life becomes difficult,” said Elizabeth.