A self-described OK (“officers’” kid), Janet Kilford grew up in The Salvation Army and now runs South Australia’s Ingle Farm Patchwork Plus group, which is holding a special humanitarian day on 8 April for Days for Girls International.
What is Days for Girls International?
Days for Girls International is a non-profit organisation aimed at creating a more dignified, humane and sustainable world for girls through advocacy, reproductive health awareness, education and sustainable feminine hygiene—because no girl should go without these things. Patchwork Plus partners with the South Australian chapter of Days for Girls by making kits for distribution wherever there is a need.
Tell me about Patchwork Plus and its importance in your own life?
Ingle Farm Patchwork Plus has been operating for more than eight years and has grown from a few to more than 40 members. The majority of these ladies are from the community.
We grow by encouraging each other, bringing friends, sisters and neighbours to enjoy great friendship, workshops, challenges, celebrations, shopping trips and working on projects for others such as Days for Girls, sponsorship of a Salvo centre, and making prayer quilts. We have donated 95 prayer quilts since 2009.
Personally I love being part of this project as we are able to contribute to the lives of girls around the world in a meaningful and practical way.
How did The Salvation Army get involved with Days for Girls International?
I heard about this project from my sister, Lieutenant Colonel Debra Stevens, when she was divisional leader in Western Victoria. As we are quilters and sewing enthusiasts, we decided it was something that we could get involved with.
I contacted the local chapter via email through the website. The coordinator came to visit and we commenced our involvement from there. We have done fundraising through our biennial quilting exhibition and there have been lots of donations as well.
What impact does it have on the lives of girls in need?
Girls who have access to these colourful washable kits are able to attend school, or work without interruption and, thus, have more opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community.
Your have a big day planned for 8 April—what’s happening then?
We are holding an information session and workshop to introduce the program to new people, as well as demonstrate the ‘how to ‘ of participating in the program. It’s happening at Ingle Farm Salvos at the corner of Bridge and Maxwell Roads, Ingle Farm, South Australia, from 10 am till 2 pm, and lunch is provided.
Why is it important to be involved in a project like this?
We should use our talents or skills to help others because we are so fortunate in Australia. Every kit we provide enables a girl to attend school for three years. We hope and pray that this makes a difference in each girl’s life, and that we are blessed by blessing others. I am thrilled to be able to spread the word about this program and be part of something that gives dignity to girls and women.
What is your own Salvo background?
I was born in Sale, Victoria, and my parents were officers. I attended various corps (churches) with my parents as a child in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, and I have been at Ingle Farm for 18 years.
Where did your passion for craft come from?
I taught myself to sew and did lots of clothes sewing until I discovered patchwork and quilting more than 25 years ago. I love the variety of things that I can create using the skills I have acquired over the years, particularly making prayer quilts and banners for the corps.
Patchwork Plus emerged from a former craft group that had been operating at the corps for several years. I took on the leadership with the emphasis on patchwork and quilting. Ladies bring their own projects to work on and they help each other a lot.
Some do knitting, cross stitch, embroidery or paper craft doll making and we encourage ladies who are not churchgoers to attend special events at the corps and some have joined the Christmas choir and helped with Christmas cheer and other activities.
I love sharing my passion for quilting with the ladies who attend, and I also love the way quilts are so comforting as well as creative. I enjoy the friendliness of quilters and the way we can share God’s love through giving and sharing together.