Many charities collect donated clothes, toys or school supplies to help children in Third World countries. But one local group has found another way to help — it's shipping...

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Many charities collect donated clothes, toys or school supplies to help children in Third World countries. But one local group has found another way to help — it’s shipping along a kiln.

Hoping to give disabled children in Uganda an alternative to begging, the nonprofit Sister Schools yesterday shipped a washing-machine-sized kiln to give students who use wheelchairs a vocation in making vases, bowls and plates to sell in markets.

The Seattle-based nonprofit, which enlists local schools to collect school supplies for children in Uganda, yesterday shipped the 800-pound kiln along with 635 boxes containing crayons, paper, books, clothes and toys to orphanages and elementary schools in the sub-Saharan African country.

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The kiln will go to the Kampala School for the Physically Handicapped, located in the southern part of Uganda’s capital city. “They could sell beads and small pottery items in local markets,” said Terry McGill, founder of Sister Schools. “And kids will be gaining a skill.”

Seattle Pottery Supply Inc. and Pacific Fabrics & Crafts helped bring about the kiln project.

The kiln could also raise the confidence of disabled students and make the public aware that the disabled can be self-sufficient, organizers said.

Kilns are heated up to solidify clay pieces or to give them a glazed finish. Most kilns open from the top. The kiln being shipped opens from the side like a refrigerator so the disabled students can heat their pottery pieces themselves.

The Seattle Pottery Supply Inc. and Pacific Fabrics & Crafts helped put the kiln project together. Many schools and Boy Scout troops from Western Washington also orchestrated donation drives and collected 10,000 books.

McGill started Sister Schools in 1989 after traveling to East African and seeing how civil war and AIDS ravaged Uganda. Since then he has enlisted about 100 schools in Western Washington to collect more than 150,000 pounds of school supplies to ship to Uganda.

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com