Written by Marek Klauzi?ski | Public Relations and Communications Officer | Heifer Poland

Women from Wola Sekowa Folk University create beautiful souvenirs

More than 30 women sat in one room, knitting, sewing, making laces and woolen jewelry at one o’clock in the morning. Why wouldn’t they go to bed? One might think they were professional craftswomen trying to finish their job as soon as possible. On the contrary, they were village women at an arts and crafts workshop that was part of a Heifer International project. They were chatting and laughing, and so wrapped up in what they were doing that they simply forgot the time.

The women meet once every two weeks at Wola Sekowa Folk University in Bieszczady region of Poland as a part of the Empowering Women Empowers Families in Need project.

Krystyna, a 47-year-old mother from Bukowsko, joined the group a few months ago. She had a difficult time after her husband died in a car crash two years ago. She couldn’t pull herself together and struggled with the farm work. Finally, she had to sell two of her five cows just to get by. She was very worried about the future of her two children, who were still in school. Her neighbor Maria had confidence in her talent though and knew it was time for her to develop and share it with the other women. Krystyna was a lace maker and could create miraculous fancy tablecloths.

Project participants model their self-made linen clothes

Krystyna had given up lacemaking a few years earlier because she simply didn’t have enough time, so when Maria asked her to join the women at Wola S?kowa, she was rather skeptical. She didn’t understand what use it could be. Finally she agreed and joined the women for one of the weekend sessions. They didn’t let her remain shy for long. Their welcome was so warm that Krystyna felt like she was part of the group almost at once. She has learned many new craft techniques since that first session and really enjoys making colored wool jewelry. The other women got a lot from her as well, as she patiently explained all of her lacemaking tricks to any woman who wanted to learn.

Every few weeks the women from the Wola S?kowa group go to traditional arts fairs throughout the region. They have a chance to sell their products at the fairs and earn good money from the many tourists who are ready to pay for high-quality souvenirs. The girls carefully observe the other stalls to get inspiration and to remain competitive.

Producing woolen jewelry turns hobby into profit

These days, Krystyna is much more optimistic about the future. She feels supported by the group and knows that she can count on them if she needs them. She realized very quickly that those weekend meetings were not only about needle-craft, but it is a very powerful ladies’ club, where they share ideas and strengthen each other in their efforts towards a better future.

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Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.