The DORKAS Project was started in 1998 when there was a need and great interest in learning patchwork and quilting in the disadvantaged areas of the Western Cape.
The slogan was ‘run free’ and a beautiful gazelle was the logo. Dorkas philosophy of ‘each one teach one’ and the message of DORKAS: learning to be Dedicated, Organized, to Reach out with mutual respect, to gain Knowledge and new skills, and Achieve confidence, self worth and so Serve and to Run Free.
GHQG had started collecting donations of fabrics, notions and magazines which were distributed amongst the groups, each group getting their own mats, rotary cutters and rulers. They also set up a library in each group. The quilters made and raffled quilts and supported other outreach programmes in the Western Cape.
A Dorkas constitution was drawn up and a bank account opened. An application was made to the City of Cape Town for ‘Grant in Aid’ from the Department of Arts and Culture in 1999 and the programme was granted R8,000.00 - a large sum at the time! It was decided that this would need to be spent on education - training teachers to teach in their communities. The money was used to pay for a hall, teaching aids and notes, fabric, scissors, notions, equipment etc (some also donated by GHQG) as well as servicing of sewing machines.
A Quilt Teacher training course was designed by Lubi Koorts and Jenny Hermans and the quilters involved met every month for a year, going through the work, as well as learning good teaching practice and a ‘professional’ approach.
On completing the creative sampler course the students had a graduation. It really was with a great sense of achievement that 23 ladies completed the training. Support afterwards was needed, and we co-ordinated this for about 7 years afterwards. The trained teachers went on to teach groups in their areas but found it hard to ask for money in payment.
At one stage 9 groups were active from Atlantis to Mitchells Plain and Kleinmond. Dorkas is still running one group in Mitchell’s Plain.
Good Hope Quilters’ Guild has several Outreach and Community Projects that they support.
Ravensmead Quilting Group, Silver Threads – Weltevreden Park, Ashton Community Project, Imizamo Yethu, Sarepta group and Suurbraak community where fabrics, magazines and sewing notions are gratefully received. Other organizations such as the CHOC House, the Naked Baby Project, Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Red Cross Memorial Childrens’ Hospital, Tyger Bears Trauma Recovery Centre where clothing, blankets, quilts, caps and and teddy bears are delivered regularly to support the various hospitals and outlets.
D – Dedicate time, effort and expertise to
O – Organize your life so you can learn and
R - Reach out, with mutual respect and gain
K – Knowledge of yourself, others and learn new skills to
A – Achieve a sense of pride & accomplishment, and
S – Serve and share this with your family and community