craft women

Women Helping Women

by Marsha Winsryg

Zambian mothers of disabled=These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia.In two year’s time they have grown into a true cooperative sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls and crocheted bags. With money in their bank account they have loaned to each woman enough to start a small business, paid back with a small interest, effectively running their own in house micro lending bank. Selling vegetables, charcoal, dried fish, or handmade  goods, they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. We are all very proud of what they have accomplished.
It all started with the creation of the Zambezi Doll Project in 2010.



by Marsha Winsryg

Zambian/ American collaboration quilt

Zambian and Vineyard craft women collaborate

Tuesday, October 26th, 5 to 6pm

20 Road to Great Neck (off New Lane), West Tisbury

See a slide show detailing projects and people served in Zambia.

Will end promptly at 6, but come at 4 if you want to chat.

Marsha Winsryg 508 693 4059


Zambian Baskets and Congolese Kuba Cloth

The African Artists’ Community Development Project will be hosting an International Craft Bazaar at the Grange Hall on Tuesday, August 3, from12  to 4.

On sale will be baskets, jewelry, carvings, textiles from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana and Niger. All profits benefit the indigenous people of these countries, including orphaned and disabled children. For information: Marsha Winsryg,  508 693 4059


Zambian Craft Women

The Kabwata Cultural Village is a tourist craft market, where there are 15 traditional huts housing men’s crafts and one for women. It seems that it is very intimidating for women here to compete commercially with men. This women’s shop is a brave first initiative. The ladies insisted I sit in the middle of their hut/shop on a carved stool and I proceeded to describe the quilt project with the help of  photographs of other quilts. I explained that I wanted to create something that women from the US as well as from Zambia could share.

We figured out the size of the cloth panels we needed and proceeded to cut them out as I passed around a book of Haitian quilts to illustrate the kinds of quilts I wanted to make with them. I explained that I would bring the panels back to the US and assemble them there with the help of women interested in this project, and that I would sell it or auction it and send 1/2 of the money to them, the other half going to my non-profit, the AACDP.

Women kept drifting in and soon the room was humming with the peaceful energy of women making art among friends. They are a very chatty group, sometimes squabbling over use of the scissors. There were 25 or so women and only 4 pairs of scissors. I filmed them working and recorded some of their songs, and then left promising to return with more materials, because everyone wanted to make at least two.

Upon my return later that day, I was amazed to find them still sewing furiously, some doing very fine work, some crude. Proudly they displayed the completed panels.

Quilt panels

I have been working with these women thru Peggy Mwamba, my friend, Sydney’s aunt, because it is she with whom I have had some craft dealings over the past two years, after Beauty, the woman who organized for me previously, proved to be dishonest. I sense, from something Sydney said to me, that perhaps the other women are not entirely pleased with her leadership, but I know I can trust her. She is a calm, slightly humorless woman- perhaps not the most popular among them, but she speaks good English, though most of them do, and can manage email, which most of them don’t.

Peggy Mwamba