A group of relaxed women sit around the table, painting away. That’s what it looks like, but what you don’t know is that these women work at a labour camp and are part of the successful Camp Creative initiative where their lives are changing for the better.
It is all about making a difference
Camp Creative is a volunteer initiative started by Labor of Love UAE, an organization founded by Angel Wesley with the vision to make a difference in the lives of labourers in Abu Dhabi. Coordinating the Camp Creative initiative is Michal Teague, a public artist and teacher, who is using her passion and artistic gift to run workshops with women labourers. She is leading them to create arts using watercolour or making jewellery preferably using recyclable materials. These materials can be found in the women’s home countries as well. This enables the women to use what they learn to become an independent micro entrepreneur at home one day.
It is amazing to see how the women labourers start to relax and enjoy themselves during the workshops. Memories come up and they start talking about themselves, their lives at home, their families, their hopes and wishes. They feel recognized as a whole person and are able to let their creativity lead them. For the women, these workshops are not just about producing a product but about expressing themselves as an individual, feeling whole and even healing through the process of creating art.
The Art & Craft Bazaar
“Women love to be able to sit and create, letting their imaginations run riot producing something beautiful for themselves or for their home or friends,” said Jacqueline Wood, Abu Dhabi Women’s Group, Founder and organizer of the ‘Art & Craft Bazaar’ that gave the women labourers a great opportunity to display and sell the arts and crafts they had created.
The Bazaar took place on May 17, 2013 at the Cristal Hotel in Abu Dhabi and was joined by various Abu Dhabi based artisans, displaying their creative work of handmade items including sandals, children’s clothing, hats, silk flower arrangements, homemade chocolates and jewellery, paintings, and photography. FeelGreatHelping, founded by Babs Klijn, is a network of friends who raise awareness of good causes and enjoy ‘doing good together.’ They actively supporting the Camp Creative initiative and were helping to make the Bazaar ahuge success.
To allow the women to continue their journey through creativity, arts and self-expression all proceeds of the Bazaar will be used toprovidesupplies for the workshops.“These workers send most of their money home each month to support their families and don’t have much to spare for themselves, “said Michal. “The women are so appreciative of the opportunity to relax by learning new skills and connecting with people in the wider community.”How wonderful is this?
Yes we know that this article was a bit late in being published, but the art and craft bazaar is not the end. It’s only the beginning. Look up the facebook pages of Labour of Love, Feel Great Helping and Abu Dhabi Women’s Group and see how they are continuously helping change the lives of the downtrodden in their little community. Better still, you have the chance to help them reach towards their dreams. Like their facebook pages and learn how.
I would like to offer thanks to Ilka Emig for attending the event in Abu Dhabi, for taking some photos as well as assimilating all the information for this particular article, while I was out of the country. I would also like to thank Babs Klijn for assisting in sending relevant photos to us.