Women use recycled X-ray films to create cloth for sale

Translate Page

United Methodist women in Zimbabwe are using expired and discarded X-ray films to create cloth used in products they can sell to generate income.

The Chitungwiza-Marondera District women's union held a craft workshop to teach women how to make the cloth. The women also learned a variety of other skills, including smocking, basket beading and making patchwork bedcovers for cots.

“We were taught how to create unique cloth prints using expired X-ray pictures and tree leaves and branches,” said Emilia Mafuratidze.

Using plain white poly-cotton fabric, the 26 women from 13 churches designed different attractive prints using patterns cut on X-ray films. 

“We can tell a story in a series of pictures, or just draw the pictures we want to use for designing the fabric,” Mafuratidze said.

The women cut out the pictures using scissors or razor blades and use the design to print on the cloth.  Mafuratidze said grass can also be used for the background patterns, and the women can sew skirts, aprons, bedcovers, curtains and tablecloths from the fabric.

“I intend to train women in my church and local community because once the society gains such skills, it will be easy to achieve our commission of making disciples for Jesus Christ,” Mafuratidze said.

Be sure to add the alt. text

Women use a discarded X-ray film as a stencil to print fabric. Photo by Eveline Chikwanah, UMNS.

Sustaining families

One of the workshop coordinators, Rezeni Muchingami, said the training would enable women to sustain their families.

“We are living in a challenging economic environment, and the handiwork skills taught here will enable women to earn a living and improve their lifestyles,” said Muchingami, a pastor's wife.

Ideally, she said, women should form groups of up to 10 people to pool their resources and buy the fabric, paint and other materials required to start a small business.            

“The printed skirts which were taught at this workshop can be sold for $10, while the cot covers can fetch up to $20. We traveled extensively and assessed the costs of producing these items and whether there is a market for them,” Muchingami said.

She said the products could be sold in bulk to shops that specialize in traditional African wear. 

Lizzy Kaseke, 55, was grateful for the opportunity to learn beading and patchwork. “The patchwork cot covers will make a unique present, especially for my grandchildren,” she said.  “We learned not to throw away pieces of fabric. They can make beautiful patchwork designs for bedcovers.”

Exhibit planned

Nancy Tarumbwa, chairperson for Chitungwiza-Marondera craft shop committee, said the church is organizing an exhibition of the products of the workshop and other crafts in May.

“We also plan to open a retail shop where women can have a ready market to sell their products.  A commission will be levied, and the proceeds will be given to the church,” said Tarumbwa.

She expressed joy at the participation by women from Svosve United Methodist Church, a rural circuit. 

“I realized women have the zeal to produce different crafts, and I am happy with the progress made by the participants at this workshop. “We aim to empower women to sustain their families and also raise funds for their churches,” she said.

The Rev. Portia Kanoyangwa, the Chitungwiza-Marondera District superintendent, said she was impressed with the work produced by the women.

“I was amazed by the participation of elderly women. They have gained skills which will help them to earn a living,” she said.

Chikwanah is a communicator of the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference.

News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469.


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Mission and Ministry
United Methodist Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda prays for peanuts produced during the last growing season in Kindu, Congo. With an estimated 27 million people facing food insecurity in the country, the East Congo bishop has called for redoubling efforts to combat hunger through agriculture. Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe, UM News.

Church responds as famine threatens Congo

United Methodist Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda, East Congo Episcopal Area, calls for amplifying agricultural activities to fight food insecurity.
Mission and Ministry
Annie Padhuze, headmistress of The United Methodist Church’s Clare Secondary School near Mutare, Zimbabwe, says many of her students do not have birth certificates. United Methodists are helping orphans and other vulnerable children obtain the documents they need to continue their education. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

Lack of birth certificate challenges children in rural areas

Representatives of five United Methodist-related primary and secondary schools reported an average 44% of students don’t have birth certificates.
Church Leadership
The Rev. Owen Ross (left) holds a banner alongside the Revs. Juliet Mwarumba and John Holler during a ceremony celebrating a $800,029 donation to Fairfield Children’s Home in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Ross and Holler, who are from the North Texas and South Carolina conferences, respectively, have personal connections to the school. Mwarumba is Fairfield’s administrator. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

Pastor makes personal connection with orphans

The Rev. Owen Ross of the North Texas Conference shares his journey with the children at United Methodist Old Mutare Mission and how he helped shape the way Fairfield Children’s Home looks today.