Saturday, 3 March 2012

Pester Power

It’s amazing what you can do with a little good old fashioned pester power. I’m busy planning a Handicraft Fayre with the support of some lovely, and very talented, chums to raise money for the Tearfund projects in the Mekong sub region that I have written about previously. One of my articles, an interview with a fantastic girl called Lin, was published in Inspire Magazine (page 20-21) this month and got the front cover! I’m not surprised really because Lin looks absolutely fantastic in her tribal dress, it’s a perfect cover shot!

The idea of hosting a handicraft sale arose from the work of the New Life Centre where Lin studied as lots of the girls there (all of whom are victims of, or vulnerable to, exploitation and trafficking) still have family members to support even though their room, board and education is provided by the centre. To meet this need for sending money home the centre hosts handicraft workshops so the girls can make items to sell to provide some extra cash for their families. So to raise money for these kinds of projects working with vulnerable migrant groups I thought a handicraft sale would be a very fitting event to host.

On the day (Saturday 28th April, 1.30 – 4.30, at St Micheal and All Angel’s church, Lonsdale Road, Summertown in Oxford) we will have piles of cakes and cups of tea, an abundance of homemade items from knitted toys and baby hats to home sewn decorations and bags. There will also be a book stall, cards and fair trade jewellery on offer. If you are in the area then do pop in. If you’re not then never fear! I will be selling some of the items via my Facebook page and this blog so you can still get involved. If you’d like to donate I also have a Just Giving page set up for the event.
But ANYWAY the reason for this post was that while I was on the hunt for kindly businesses in Summertown today I wandered into Laura Ashley and asked if they had any fabric offcuts they would be willing to donate for us to make some of the hand crafted items out of. Luckily for me they had a bag of swatches that they didn’t need any more from the season just gone so I left well and truly loaded up. It reminded me again of the great fruits to be had from simply asking. It can be a little scary (I’m already dreading walking shop to shop in search of raffle prizes) but I know the personal touch works.
 It’s also a lot easier to be bolshy on behalf of people like Lin. Most of us have no idea what it is like to live how she has and it’s a privilege to be able to help in any small way. It reminds me of the Vicar of Dibley episode where Geraldine persuades a rich man to pay £10,000 for their new stained glass window. She knows that giving will be good for him so pursues him until he writes her a cheque. As they said in the shop when I got the fabric, they were all destined for the bin anyhow and now they have a new lease of life and even better will fund a new life for people on the other side of the world. Worth being a pest for I’d say!


  1. Well done, Nicola. It isn't always fun asking, but people can be very generous and helpful if given the chance. Laura Ashley set up her business about 2 miles from where I live as the crow flies and was always very generous with offcuts and sometimes longer lengths of material for a good cause.