The Knockmay Women’s Voice Quilting Project is the proud recipient of an Aontas Star Award in Leinster. The group received their award from President Michael D. Higgins at a special ceremony at the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on Monday.
The project focused on regeneration of a local authority estate in Portlaoise through the local women’s group. Women living in the Knockmay estate came together and created a quilt which is 11’ by 13’ in size and consists of 11 ‘patches’ with each of the women putting their unique stamp on a patch. The quilt expresses the experience and hopes of women living on the estate and was created while the new resource centre was being built.
The award was made on the basis of the variety of skills and learning which the women experienced as they created the quilt. Throughout the project the participants developed their confidence as well as skills such as time management, team work and planning – all of which have enhanced their involvement and participation in the community. One of the group members involved said: “This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever finished anything.”
Funding for the initiative was secured from the 2010 Year of Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. The Department of Social Protection also provided funding for the initiative.
Speaking at the awards, President Higgins said: “We know that career and indeed other opportunities are often determined by the level of educational attainment we achieve. “For some the lifelong learning journey has been a natural progression through primary and second level and onwards but for others that experience may have been very different and the path of reengagement with the world of education may seem daunting and uncertain. Many of the groups nominated for the Awards today have done wonderful work within communities in helping others with previously low levels of education to resume the journey.”