Women on a mission to sew

Making clothes for Haiti, community children

When a massive earthquake struck
Haiti in January Carmen Conolly’s thoughts went immediately to the children of
that country.

She wanted to reach out and help
those who survived, but she doesn’t have a lot of disposable income.

Still, the need to help tugged at
her heart.

“I was looking at the TV and the
disaster in Haiti happened and tears just came out of my eyes,” said Mrs.
Conolly of East End.

“I said ‘God, what can I do to
help? I don’t have any money to send.’ Then the word came; ‘You can sew’.”

So sewing it would be.

Mrs. Conolly called her pastor, the
Rev. Louis Sully who is a native of Haiti. He went back to his home country
after the earthquake and returned to Cayman in late February.

He loaded up a twin engine plane
with supplies from Cayman, which included blankets, canned goods and clothes
and made the two hour trip to Haiti.

“I went there to support them and
when I saw the situation I could not hold up. I was crying,” he said during a
27 February interview with CITN. “There is no sense of hope. For them to be
able to get a sense of hope they need to see something is going on.”

He said relief aid was not being
distributed properly, but a government official told him relief workers don’t
know which areas needed help first. He said he also believes the number of
homeless is double the official number – more like 2 million.

He spoke to a woman on the street
who lost two of her children in the earthquake. She has no house, no shelter
and no husband.

So he took his Cayman supplies to
the Centre for Christian Development.

“The people said I am like a
saviour to them though what I brought was very minimal.  But in that community they never get anything,”
he said in the CITN interview.

What struck him most were the
thousands of homeless and orphaned children in the streets.

“I am looking at them in the street
and there is no one to care for them. It is very emotional. When you look at
that the only thing you could do is to cry,” he said.

It is for the surviving children
that Mrs. Conolly and a handful of other women meet each Monday and Wednesday
to sew clothes.

Most of the material has been
donated by members of the Cayman Quilters and the Pink Ladies.

“They gave us lots and lots of
material,” Mrs. Conolly said. “We’re going to continue this.”

It takes the ladies about three
hours to craft a single item of clothing and it’s evident to those who go to
the East End United Church Hall that they are performing a labour of love. The
women are from the congregations of the United and Adventist churches.

They’ve also received monetary
donations, which will be used to buy cloth not only for the children in Haiti,
but for youngsters in the community who don’t have suitable church wear.

“We learned that some children were
not going to church because they had no church clothes,” Mrs. Conolly said. “So
we’re sewing for the community children too.”

Anyone who wishes to help the ladies
in their sewing mission can call Mrs. Conolly at 925-7412 or 947-7412 or
Community Officer Ms Dalmira Bodden at 925-5543.

The women meet at the United Church
Hall from 10 am until around 2pm each Monday and on Wednesday nights beginning
at 7pm.

Mr. Sully said Haiti is in desperate
need of building supplies and that he fears rainy season, which begins in May.


Mrs. Carmen Conolly sews a dress for Haiti children in the East End United Church Hall Monday.
Photo: Tammie C. Chisholm