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Article—February 18, 2002 TheTennessean

Quilts piece together cultures, countries

Classes at Granbery begin reaching out to Afghan children
By Nicole Garton

Twelve quilts may not warm many bodies, but 10 year old Taylor Buchanan hopes they’ll warm a few Afghan hearts. Someday in the not-too-distant future, he and his classmates hope, their good wishes will help ward off the cold as children in Afghanistan snuggle under hand drawn pictures of flowers, hearts, rainbows, and peace signs.

Taylor and 117 other third-and fourth graders at Granbery Elementary took fabric markers to white cotton squares and helped make 12 colorful quilts that will b shipped to Afghanistan to help people through the rest of the winter. "I want to show them that we can make peace between our two countries, "said Hau Phan, 10. " I know it will help some kids to stay warm."

The students decided to take on the project after learning about the cold winters children in Afghanistan experience. "I think it really came from the need to get to know other people around the word and their suffering, which became obvious after Sept. 11," said reading and language teacher Judith Meeker, who spearheaded the effort. The children each decorated a square of fabric and helped to stitch the patches together on Meeker’s sewing machine. Then they sent their creations off to be factory quilted and bound.

Most of the fabric was donated, and students held a bake sale to cover the rest of the costs, she said. Several of them said they view the quilts as a piece offering as well as a practical donation.

Jannah Shabazz, 10, drew two stick people holding hands to express that "everybody could be friends and wouldn’t hate each other. "Making quilts felt good, she said "because my picture’s on it, and they can look at my picture and know we’re not bad people."

The quilts will be on display in the school cafeteria this week and then will travel to Afghanistan through an organization called Global Exchange, a human rights group that helps to create international partnerships. Each quilt will be accompanied by a booklet of letters written by children who helped make it.

If there were one thing Holly McKee, 9, could tell the kids in Afghanistan it would be, "don’t hate us,’ cause we’re not that bad."


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