I've been wanting to write this post for a while. Years really! Today is the day I share with you a vision I have had to spread some love and kindness in a particular part of the world that could use some good quilty cheer. La Limonada is a community in Guatemala City where tens of thousands of people live in extreme poverty. All the things that are associated with extreme poverty exist here: Addiction. Violence. Poor housing conditions. Lack of decent paying jobs. For some, having safe water or electricity is a luxury. Things that I take for granted a thousand times a day before lunch.
But there is also hope. Always hope. Lemonade International has been working for the past five years in the people of La Limonada to partner in community development. A school was started. Then another school was started. Scholarship programs started. Sponsorship programs begun. Micro-enterprise and vocational training programs are now available. A fair trade coffee partnership with a coffee house here in Raleigh was recently launched (check out Jubala - the best cup of coffee in town. Worth traveling for if you aren't in the area!). I am always inspired with the creative and effective ways this organization utilizes to support and nurture this often overlooked population. Perfect example - Establishing a shoe maker in the community as the official shoe provider for the children in the schools. Lives are being changed here!
Perhaps the project most near and dear to my heart is the safe house that was started for children who were in dangerous situations. The most needy of the needy. Currently, there are 18 children living in the Mi Casita Safe House. As a quilter and a mother, I want to wrap each of these kids up in a warm embrace, to whisper in their ears and hearts that they are loved. That they are valuable. That they matter. That they are remembered!
I so want each of these kids to have their very own quilt - a spot of brightness that is made specifically for them and belongs soley to them. I stepped out on a limb and told Cherie (of the husband/wife team Bill and Cherie who started the non-profit Lemonade International) that I would make a quilt for every child in the safe house, even if it took me 10 years. I have already sent this quilt down for a special resident of the safe house, and have seen pictures of her enjoying this treasure made just for her. Oh, my friends. This feeling of being able to share a bit of comfort and cheer is one of the joys of being a quilter!
I would love your help in making some quilts for these kids. I don't want any of the kids to have to wait for their turn to get a quilt. I want to rain down some love on them! And secretly, I would love to see quilts popping up throughout the community, beyond the safe house, spreading some tangible cheer in a place that so desperately needs it. If you are interested in helping out, please leave me a comment or send me an email. Thank you!
And so, Project Quilt Lemonade begins.