Trần Thị Ánh Tuyết cuts out fabric pieces and sews them together to make special blankets. — VNS Photo Hồng Phương
CẦN THƠ — Trần Thị Ánh Tuyết is not a professional tailor but she uses fabric and needles almost every day.
Using her skilled hands, she makes unique blankets with different kinds of fabric, colours and patterns. What makes them truly special though is that the blankets stitched from pieces of cloth.
Although they don’t necessarily look great, they show the kindness of the woman, as she's made more than 1,000 blankets for people in need over the past 10 years.
Sixty-year-old Tuyết said she learned sewing from a nun who makes clothes for the poor in the locality.
Knowing that many of them are too poor to buy blankets, she started stitching pieces of fabric together.
“Small pieces of fabric seem to be useless but when assembled into a blanket, they show the warmth of love between people,” she said.
“This has inspired me to work hard.”
“I make blankets whenever I have free time with a sewing machine that is 10 years older than me,” she said, adding that it was left to her by her mother.
Tuyết said she asked for small pieces of cloth from tailor shops in her neighbourhood.
Realising the meaningfulness of her work, many kind-hearted people pitched in by contributing needles, thread and large pieces of cloth.
According to her, making blankets is not difficult but requires meticulous and careful work. First, drawing the desired shape on the fabric, cutting out fabric pieces and then sewing small and big cloths together, which takes a lot of time to do so.
She can make between 10 to twelve blankets per month.
“With fabric like Khaki, it is easy to cut. But for a soft one, it is necessary to iron the cloth before cutting,” Tuyết said, adding that large cloth would be used at the back of the blankets.
She also chooses fabric suitable for the recipients. For example, the fabric she used to make blankets for the people in the central region would be thicker than for those in the south.
Tuyết used to be a domestic helper and often joined charity groups to travel to remote areas to distribute rice to poor people or provide free meals for poor patients. However, she had to stop due to her poor health as she suffers from arthritis and diabetes.
She sometimes does some charity work at nearby pagodas.
“Although I am impoverished, I always try to help disadvantaged people. The value of the blankets is not much but that’s from the bottom of my heart.”
Đặng Thị Tuyết, chairwoman of Nối Vòng Tay Lớn - a charity club - said she met Tuyết two years ago.
After her husband and their son passed away at seven years old due to illness, Tuyết lived alone in a small alley in Cần Thơ City’s Ninh Kiều District.
Her poor health didn’t prevent her from doing acts of kindness.
Knowing the club collected used clothes and other donations to support the poor, disadvantaged households and minority people, Tuyết regularly contacted the club and gave blankets to its members to be gifted for those in need.
Anyone who comes to her house wouldn't see any precious equipment in the living room, just an old sewing machine, piles of cloth and sacks of fabric.
“Blankets made by Tuyết are nice and carefully made,” she said.
Admiring by her actions, the club members sometimes visit her house and give her a helping hand.
Whenever they get cloth, they bring it to Tuyết.
Trần Thị Ánh Tuyết has made more than 1,000 blankets for people in need over the past 10 years. — VNS Photo Hồng Phương
The chairwoman said the blankets were appreciated by recipients because they saw the enthusiasm of the tailor.
Lê Văn Hải, a resident from Ninh Kiều District’s Hưng Lợi Ward, said he was glad to receive the blanket which made him feel warmer.
"Despite the fact the blanket is made by stiching together waste cloth, it showed affection between people in the society,” Huỳnh Cấn Hải, another local resident, told VTV.
Tuyết has also been making blankets for the poor for more than 10 years, but has never wanted publicity.
“I have tried to persuade her many times to meet the media and to tell her story,” chairwoman Đặng Thị Tuyết said.
“People are giving a helping to the poor and disadvantaged people, either with money or food. I’m getting older and I don’t have a lot of money, so this is how I can help,” Ánh Tuyết said.
Now, Tuyết is trying to complete 50 blankets and gift them to poor people in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum and Gia Lai.
“I will continue doing the charity work for as long as I can,” she said. — VNS