Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Quilt of Many Colours; TRENDS; What Do You Get When You Knit Together a Group of East End Girls and Refugees from Conflict Zones? A Blanket without Borders, Says Susannah Butter

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Our Quilt of Many Colours; TRENDS; What Do You Get When You Knit Together a Group of East End Girls and Refugees from Conflict Zones? A Blanket without Borders, Says Susannah Butter

Article excerpt

Byline: says Susannah Butter

End war rape 2014 London global summit ON THE floor is the largest knitted quilt I have ever seen. It's colourful, pretty and has a powerful political message. This quilt was created by refugees and the Shoreditch Sisters Women's Institute to raise awareness of how women who flee sexual violence and cross borders for safety may be treated if they seek asylum in the UK.

It has been on tour to Yarl's Wood Detention Centre to show the women there that people in London are thinking of them, and today it will be at the EXCEL Centre for the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, where a new quilt will also be sewn together as a gift for Angelina Jolie as she co-chairs the summit.

Lauren Fuzi, 29, from the Shoreditch Sisters, had the idea to make a quilt last September, working with Women for Refugee Women. "We wanted a project where there wasn't a divide between the WI and the refugees," she says. "So we chose knitting as a skills swap. It is a relaxed way of getting to know people. We spoke about everything, Hollywood gossip, children ..."

When they heard about the summit they decided it was an opportunity to speak up for women in detention, and "Angelina was the girl for us as she is the summit's female representative.

It's good she's using her influence to help others". Rachel Walker, 24, another Sister says: "We wanted to remind people if they support women who suffer sexual violence in conflict they can also treat them fairer within the asylum process. There is no need for these women to be locked up while their asylum status is being looked at. There are more dignified options." Fuzi adds: "It doesn't help with the cultural narrative around immigration that we are locking asylum seekers up like criminals. A lot of what they are fleeing is specific to women -- FGM, forced marriage, prostitution, homosexuality."

One of the knitters was a woman called Jade, 44, a member of the London Refugee Women's Forum. …

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