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

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
Social Concerns
Anoziva  Sisimayi and her son Kudzai Gombakomba receive a goat from the Rev. Austern Chepiri in Mujaji, Zimbabwe. A goat breeding program sponsored by the Western Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church has helped more than 100 orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe. Photo by Pastor Hillary Mukahanana.

Goat-breeding program benefits vulnerable children

Partnership between Western Pennsylvania and Zimbabwe East conferences has empowered more than 100 toddlers through teens since 2015.
Mission and Ministry
Tackilar Mawoneke holds one of the chickens she received in a partnership between United Methodists in Zimbabwe’s Makoni Buhera District and Indiana’s Northwest District. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

Sisters in ministry nurture one another

United Methodists in Zimbabwe’s Makoni Buhera District and Indiana’s Northwest District share food, prayer support and the blessing of friendship.
Church Leadership
The Rev. Annamore Kahlari walks home from Nemanje United Methodist Church, one of five congregations she serves near Makoni Buhera, Zimbabwe. The church is about 15 miles from her home. Photo by Chenayi Kumuterera, UM News.

Rural pastor perseveres amid challenges

With unreliable transportation and fickle weather, a Zimbabwean pastor sometimes walks as many as 30 miles on Sundays to conduct worship and minister to members.