A little chap, Big John, rules the roost!
A little chap, Big John, rules the roost!
Each distribution has an individual personality. Each day care centre/creche, its location, building, set up and facilities (or lack of them), the carers and their individual stories and, of course, the children paint for us a different picture. These are not just under-privileged children who are anonymous, far from our eyes and distant in our minds.
Ronda brings to life two recent distributions and makes us realise more keenly then ever, the need of these small children, but also enlightens us with their spirit. The cameo of the little chap, Big John below, is a charming illustration of this.
September was a massive month for KAS. Lots of activity, some wonderful distributions, the inaugural KasCuddle knit-a-long and over 200 new contributors, either subscribers or forum members, who we warmly welcome.
I urge you to find the time, as you can, to follow through the links below and read about the various activities that took place during the month. It will confirm for you, that as a community we continue to connect, grow, make a difference, spread around the world and touch the lives of these little children and their carers.
And of course, please read Ronda's stories of these two special distributions. She writes as she speaks. In so doing, she makes you feel you were there. It will warm your heart.
The inaugural KasCuddle knit-a-long
What a triumph. This was a KAS communal knitting event, where Helen Flagg, who ran the knit-a-long ably assisted by Dawne, guided everyone to knit a KasCuddle from start to finish.
Helen was much moved by the sense of community and wrote,'"I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the power of the internet and to think that there are knitters in many parts of the world making Cuddles for the babies. Such a blessing."
Featured Members' Pattern
Helen Flaggs' KasCuddle of course!
Fruits of your labour
Have a look at some of the fabulously creative efforts for the September Challenge, Beanies and Squares inspired by different fruits and fruit colours, in the Square Circle Forum and in Ravelry Group
Meet Isabelle Bourguignon
The story of a French knitter, KAS and a mid atlantic flight! This has sparked a lively discussion about translating KAS worldwide. Isabelle has arranged for translations of the KAS on a page flyer in French, German and Italian. How wonderful to think of the help this will give us in locating knitters from all over these beautiful European countries. Thank you Isabelle.
Connections which spread the word
Here's another exciting example of the ways in which the internet works its magic to spread the word. I wrote a post on the Site Build It Forum, (the platform on which knit-a-square is built) about knit-a-square and you, our wonderful community.
Rob Sampson, who also has a Site Build It site, Rewarding FundRaising Ideas contacted me for an interview about KAS, how it had started, what had kept it going and it's future.
It was published last week. Over the proceeding 3 days, the interview was picked up by Google for the tag, knit-a-square. The term knit-a-square has an amazing 4,650,000 results in the search engines and we dominate the first page! Thanks to Rob for helping us spread the word.
A touch of class, keeping you in stitches!
From one of our very active mods, Pam Antink, this article called A Touch of Class in Herts. This has a circulation of 32,000. If even 10% of those folk read the article, that is potentially another 3,200 people to help spread the word and raise the issue of the children. Well done Pam and thank you.
It's always exciting to click on a Google alert for knit-a-square and find other people beavering away to contribute to the work we are doing. From Sandy and Elaine in the Moberly Mirror and County Observer. Thank you too for spreading the word.
We have a new dedicated Facebook page, courtesy of Kalai. Please join and swell the ranks. The original Facebook group has over 500 members. Dawne is working on updating photographs in Flickr and we are all doing better, thanks to some gentle coaching from Dawne, at updating out twitter page.Twitter
Jump in and Join in–October Challenge
Please hop into the forum and ravelry and join in our October Challenge. Ronda has written, and the photographs attest to this, that the children love the soft toys you have sent. We always need squares, so if you can't make a toy, perhaps you could embellish a square with a toy, like these truly creative and adorable squares from Sandra Gill. Be inspired - be creative, think about the joy you will bring to a little face just before Christmas this year.
FEATURE DISTRIBUTION: Maleboho Day Care
By Ronda Lowrie Yesterday, we went to another of Wandile's little crèches in Protea South, Maleboho. She says this one used to be quite upmarket and may have been sponsored by someone, but more recently the woman who runs it, Marta, has suffered setbacks and now she really struggles. Sam and Wandi outside the Maleboho Day Care
I did notice a bookshelf with quite a few books on it, only after I had handed Marta a dozen or so books from KAS. We took stationery and she was thrilled - what a LOVELY woman. Her own daughter, aged 9, called Malebuhile (Malli bu heeleh) is completely deaf - but manages to attend normal school, (the teachers are on strike at present, just before matric exams start, so she was at the crèche).
Marta and her daughter, Malebuhile
It was a really super distribution - we decided to do it slightly differently and dressed the children in their new, knit-a-square jerseys and beanies before handing out the blankets. That way, we made sure every child had an item of warm clothing and a beanie each, and those which received sleeveless tops were also given (say) gloves or a pair of sox or something small as an extra.
The kids started off very subdued, but were so excited when they started receiving the gifts,it was really too sweet for words.
There were some TINIES, from about 4/5 months old. I do hope that some of our knitters will recognize the beautiful jumpers, sweaters and tops they have sent.
The little ones were all delighted with their soft toys ... I asked that they be allowed to take them home as personal gifts and Marta was happy with that.
I took 8 hand-puppets, too, but asked Marta to hang onto those for use at the school ... in the beginning I put a duck on my hand and was "kissing" the kids in the neck with it - they were just SO responsive and cute - ROARING with laughter. Too sweet for words!
Marta had several 'helpers', one of whom was in the kitchen cooking a massive pile of cabbage ! They were all just such pleasant, helpful, women - it's plain to see that they are thoroughly good and deeply anxious to help the children in their community - how I admire these salt of the earth types.
'Big John' who Marta and the assistants referred to as 'the man of the house' several times, made me think that Marta's husband was around somewhere but I couldn't see him.
And then they all laughed and explained that this little chap absolutely RULED the ROOST with an iron fist - apparently he is the most quirky, stubborn, strong-minded, cussed little feller.
He looked as though butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, and it's plain that everyone adores him. He would not have a blanket wrapped around him, but sat and played with this little beanie and his new little doggie - quite happily.
Doesn't this poem written by Heather, Dawne's daughter, express so perfectedly so much of what Ronda has written about above? Thank you Heather for this contribution. You can read the full story in the blog. Dawne is an administrator in the Square Circle forum and also a guest blogger on All for Orphans.
Ongoing, children always
Playing and laughing whenever they can
Having to fight
AIDS everyday, but
Never giving up
Someone like you can save these kids.
Heather Sliming, age 16
Thuto-Lesedi Day Care Centre
Thuto Lesedi is in an older part of Soweto. It is more established than a squatter camp with mostly brick buildings. Wandile discovered this day care centre and says the woman who runs it, Maureen, struggles badly, with more than 40 kids and no support. Wandi says that Maureen told her the parents are never willing to divulge the HIV status of their kids but she has learned to tell which the sick ones are, and she thinks at least half of them are unwell, not necessarily with HIV, but some may even have TB. Sweet little things - they are so easy to please, it's heartbreaking how little they seem to expect from life.
The "toilet block" in the background!
We are distributing a lot more of the school equipment and the women are absolutely OVER the moon with it, no doubt about that.
I have asked the teachers to hang onto items in limited supply, like hand and finger puppets, balls, skipping ropes, books and other stationery supplies and dish them out ONLY in crèche time ... ie. do role play with the hand puppets, or read stories from the books - let the kids use the spades and stuff in the sand pit (like, WHICH sandpit ? the whole yard is a dustbowl!).
The soft toys, which miraculously I managed to find 47 of to hand out, the children will take home, along with their blankets of course. The kids LOVE them as you will see from the photographs.
I have taken to lecturing the "teachers" now that they MUST tell the kids EVERY DAY that they are unique and special and very important for the future of South Africa - that Knit-a-Square LOVES them, and that God loves them and they must always remember how precious they are.
When Maureen translated that lot for them this morning, they all collapsed into fits of giggles!!
A bunny for Noluthando
Lindi is holding the most lovely, soft, floppy bunny which has carrots tied around its neck and on the bottom of its feet!
She is taking this bunny to a little three year old Soweto girl - Noluthando - who is completely blind but always cheerful, apparently.
Previously she received a KAS hand puppet and apparently she is hardly ever without it on her hand, she loves it and play-acts with it all the time. Noluthando lives with her gogo and depends on her completely, and recently she has been wanting a soft toy to keep close to her.
Lindi and I thought this bunny would be perfect, specially with its dangly carrots and huge feet!
Sam at Florida House
One of our fabulous volunteers, Sam, went to Florida Baby House, which looks after about a dozen very small children. They were thrilled with the stuff and will always be happy for more. She says the babies are pretty much all AIDS orphans. Sam also arrived recently and gave Ronda a much needed roll of dustbin bags, for which we are very grateful, thank you Sam.
Parcels still keep pouring in!
There are four new square lists on the knit-a-square site up to 17 September, in which our grand total is just short of 130,000 squares. Just brilliant everyone!
Many of you have enquired about the KasTracker software launch. This has been slightly delayed, as Ronda is away for the month of October visiting her mother-in-law in England for her 90th birthday and then attending the birth of her 5th grandchild in Cape Town. Once she is settled back in Johannesburg, we will catch up with KasTracker.
In the meantime Erin and Clive are opening parcels, and Lindi and Wandi are continuing with some distributions in Soweto.
Ronda wrote about the photograph below, "this shows bundles of correspondence, dating only from about Feb this year, some of which I have managed to respond to, but sadly not all of them. I am going to file it alphabetically and ONE DAY, perhaps, someone can go through it and write to everyone.
We hope very much that those of you who have taken the time to write us your beautiful letters will understand a lack of a reply. As Ronda says, we havefaith in the fact that one day, we can find paid help in these important administrative tasks, along with some of the daily work associated with organising the distribution of the blankets.
If you aren't already a recurring donor, we would welcome your small monthly contribution. Every little bit helps and the more of you that give us a small amount each month, the closer we will get to being able to support Ronda and her team of volunteers with an assistant and to ensure that all the monthly transport, duty and other operating expenses are covered. You can donate by clicking through here to PayPal.
We deeply appreciate our generous donors, your time, effort and money. You make our combined efforts to make a difference in these children's lives possible.
Happy knitting and crochet, take care of yourself, until next Square Circle.
Sandy, Ronda, Kalai and Erin
From Maleboho Day Care