Three Decades of Dedication - Ruby Porter, MBE


February 09, 2023 3 Comments

As Ruby Porter retires as trustee to Sreepur Village, we would like to share with you Ruby's story of how she became involved with the charity and how she continued to dedicate her time to us over the last three decades.

It was in 1990 that Ruby Porter, MBE, a trustee of Sreepur Village, was invited by Pat Kerr to teach textile skills to the mothers residing in the village.

Ruby took with her seven suitcases of sewing equipment including threads, fabric, books, and sewing needles. She was told there was no sewing equipment at all so took with her as much as her seven cases could carry.

“On arrival I discovered an old weaving loom which was not being used. A local village woman came to help us set the loom up which then became the start of the weaving section”, explained Ruby.

Today, weaving is integral to our mothers training programmes and it is a source of income that we rely on, in particular the sale of our Sreepur fair trade organic scarves. Over the years, Ruby has raised funds to create a new weaving hut and looms. The new looms were sourced in Tangail, a weaving village 4 hours drive away from Sreepur.

Ruby also taught the mothers embroidery, in particular Kantha, which is the traditional embroidery of Bangladesh and the decoration that adorns many of our SVT products.


The mothers were also taught to spin straw to be used as embroidery thread. A traditional thread used globally when cotton was not available. The straw is grown locally and brought to Sreepur by rickshaw. 

In the late 90’s Ruby raised significant funds to purchase 10 treadle sewing machines. These machines were assembled in Bangladesh and are a great asset as Sreepur can never rely on the local electricity. 

Ruby and her husband, Ken, also donated sporting equipment for the children which they brought out with them on one of their many trips to the village.

Today, two of our members of staff working in SVT were trained by Ruby in the 90’s when they came to seek refuge at Sreepur Village.   

Ruby is proud to say that all Sreepur's products are locally sourced, environmentally aware, fair Trade and mindful of their environmental footprint and that Sreepur also aims not to use single use plastics.

Ruby's passion and dedication to helping our single mothers and their children is so inspiring and we thank her for her involvement from the onset, during her time as a trustee and for her continued support to this very day. 



3 Responses

Zoe Broughton
Zoe Broughton

February 14, 2023

As a volunteer in the early 1990s I have such fond memories of sitting sewing with Ruby overlooking the fish pond at Sreepur. I remember so well her great enthusiasm for researching traditional Bangladeshi embroidery and her kindness and patience with all the young women. Such an inspirational and lovely lady!

Claire Penlington
Claire Penlington

February 14, 2023

As a Sreepur volunteer in the 1980’s and later a trustee I worked closely with Ruby and have always found her, and the support Ken her husband gave her, truly inspirational. Her dedication to the project is immense from passing on her sewing and weaving skills, raising funds/awareness of the village and dedication as a trustee. Thank you Ruby ❤️

Lady Tunnicliffe
Lady Tunnicliffe

February 14, 2023

An inspirational story, and her daughter continues supporting as a Trustee and in prmttoikng he wonderful items made at SPP

Sue D T(Patron Sreepur Village)

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