Our global knit-a-square volunteers
You, who have taken up our crochet and knitting project, with extraordinary generosity, are our primary and most important volunteers.
To date you have crafted and sent with love and beautiful messages for knit-a-square over half a million squares and knitted items of clothing.
You are individuals, school and church communities, university groups and aged care organizations. We remain indebted to you all for the charity work you continue to do to warm and comfort these vulnerable and orphaned children so greatly in need of your love.
Read KasSnippets for stories of you, our wonderful volunteers and the superb work that is being accomplished by the team in South Africa.
When we started, in October 2008, we thought it would be 'just a wee knitting project!' and might result in just a few hundred squares. This would allow Ronda Lowrie (co-founder of Knit-a-square, pictured right) to make a few blankets herself and then distribute them to the children in the streets of South Africa as she passed, instead of the cheap blankets she had been buying.
We have Lion Brand in the United States, who published an article about us in February 2009, to thank for the fact that, wonderfully, our story is much richer. Thousands of squares arrived in that year. It was clear, very soon, that Ronda alone would not be able to cope with the volume. As Knit-a-square grew, word spread and the JigsawClothes company in the UK and the USA made a generous offer. The company posted squares to South Africa for knit-a-square members in those 2 countries. This resulted in over 36,000 squares arriving in 2011-2012
Lindi and Wandi
Ronda had been working with women from Soweto through her own church parish to uplift parishes in Soweto, and so over time several women came forward to help her open the parcels.
Two women, Lindiwe NgWenya and Wandile Mkhwanazi have become permanent volunteers.
They, together with a band of caring, committed parish friends of Ronda's, including KasCare members or their relatives who make contact with us from time to time, form the hardworking core of our team in South Africa.
They open the parcels, sort the squares from the hats and jumpers, collate the garments into sizes, create Square Packs (each pack contains 35 squares) for sewing groups. They teach and oversee the stitching of the blankets. Ronda and Erin record the opening of all the parcels.
Wandile scours the streets of the informal settlements near her home in Soweto. She searches out children who are orphaned or alone, and crèches and communities where there is a high level of vulnerable or orphaned children for distributions of blankets.
Lindiwe does the same through her parish. This way we can be sure that the blankets are being wrapped around the children who most need them.
We are also helped greatly by collaboration with the South African division of G4S, a large British security company. G4S looks after many prisons in South Africa and we are currently sending squares to the inmates to sew into blankets. Wendy Hardy, former Public Relations Manager of G4S, has become a dedicated knit-a-square supporter herself, opening parcels with her family over the weekends.
In time, we imagine our volunteer base will have to grow substantially to cope with the increasing volume of the charity work we receive. What a wonderful problem to have! At present our resources are stretched to the limit, so we are working hard to collect sufficient funds to employ a manager in South Africa.
In Australia, co-founder Sandy McDonald (Ronda's niece) and her husband Roger were instrumental in implementing the concept and managing the growth of Knit-a-square. As founders of KasCare, (Knit-a-Square's parent organizations,) they designed and built the website, forum and online newsletter, and worked tirelessly to build and nurture a world-wide community of committed and vibrant crafters, who create and send the squares.
We are fortunate to have among us many women, who unsolicited have, over the years come up with ideas to grow our community, fund raise, widen our reach, raise awareness and further help the children.
Many of these women have been formally enrolled as forum moderators in Square Circle and in Ravelry.
Many more just keep on contributing, sharing patterns, challenge ideas and concepts. On the Square Circle Forum, we recognize one of these special members each month with the Square Heart Award. The Square Heart is awarded to those KASers who truly show their heart by their ongoing actions. You can read about their remarkable, tireless enthusiasm for Knit-a-Square and the children we seek to help by visiting the Square Circle forum.
Recently we started to pay small stipends to Lindiwe and Wandile for their ceaseless and committed work.