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Sunday February 29, 2004

Quilting to save marine life


Lack of experience or know-how has not deterred the BRATs from sewing quilts to raise money for marine conservation, reports PHOA KELENE who initiated the ‘Quilt For Coral’ project

When the BRATs were asked to raise funds to help conserve marine life after their year-end trip to Mabul island in Sabah last year, few would have guessed that they would be picking up the needle and thread.  

But that is exactly how some of the Penang BRATS spent their precious weekends over the last two months. 

My group, the Powerpufferfish, decided that we needed to make a difference. After much brain storming, we came up with the idea of making quilts which could be auctioned off to the public. 

The BRATs working hard at the quilts in Phoa Kelene's (third from left) house. The quilts with a marine theme are to be auctioned off to raise funds to buy reef balls that wil be used to encourage the growth of coral reefs.
The money would be used to buy a reef ball to be planted in the sea to encourage the growth of corals. 

Our trip to Mabul enlightened us about the threat humans posed to coral reefs. We learnt how reef balls – concrete structures made to look like reefs – can encourage the growth of corals. This would, in turn, encourage marine life to remain in our environment. 

Although we pricked our fingers many a time, we found to our surprise that we could sew after all, and were quite pleased with the results.  

My mother, who makes quilts, gave us pointers on how to start. We also sought the help and expertise of quilter Harriet Saw who supported our project by donating materials from her shop, Friendship Quilts. 

As the project was to aid marine conservation, we decided on a marine theme, and thus bought materials with coral and fish motifs. 

I sent out a message to the brats asking for help to raise funds for the materials and also for help to sew the quilt late last year.  

Over the Chinese New Year holidays, the eager quilters started collecting donations from their family and friends to buy the necessary material.  

The “Quilt for Coral” project kicked off to a fine start early this year, and some of us who started off as strangers soon became firm friends. It was also a good opportunity for us to share our experiences on the Mabul trip. 

I remember being impressed with the effort put in by the people at Mabul, such as resort owner Lawrence Cardosa, to conserve marine life. 

It is now our turn to do our bit to educate others on the importance of conservation and to raise funds to plant more reef balls in the sea. 

When the two quilts are ready, we hope to auction them off. Hopefully, the public will generously support our efforts. 

  • BRATs who are interested in helping out with the quilt, or those interested in contributing to the quilt, please e-mail  

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