Jamey receives your first blanket

Jamey receives your first blanket

On Saturday a little disabled orphan called Jamey, received the first blanket made from squares sent by you. Erin, Ronda's daughter took a video of the presentation, and I have put a link to it in the story below. We are sure you will be as moved, even to tears, as we were.

There is so much to tell you, I hardly know where to start! But it will be better to split this issue into two, one today and one by the end of the week/weekend. Hope you are happy to read that much. Here's what will be in both issues:


Bags and bags and car loads of squares
Opening and sorting –
the bounty of your gifts
The first of many tears
Organising for the first sewing bee
The first recipients of your blankets


The blind woman, her adopted orphan grand daughter and their blanket
Colourful Soweto
Daniel learns to knit
Hannah teaches Bastile to draw
Heart-breaking, heart-felt and heartening stories and pictures from tenthousandhomes.org
Hats and vests for the children of tenthousandhomes.org
St Basil's School, Zimbabwe
Our wonderful Square Circle Groups (ooooh la la Texas!)
Must have' knit-a-square t-shirts

– Forum – the race for April
– Ravelry.com tally
– Facebook photographs
– Square a day journal



– Knit-a-square heroes – a must read!
– Free crochet patterns
– Teacher Parent Resource




Bags and bags and
car loads of squares

The last issue was at that point Ronda had written to say 'it was raining squares in South Africa". The torrent turned into a deluge and by last Friday she and the Soweto Comfort ladies had opened 1831 squares; 9 vests; 22 sweaters; 1 shrug; 2 hats. I know there are quanitites of boxes and parcels still on their way from communications with you.

Given that the first squares, mostly from family, arrived in January, this is a truly fantastic beginning. Bless you for this wonderful start to the knit-a-square project. Josephine's heartfelt thank you is addressed directly to you and I hope you will look at the video on the Soweto Comfort Club page.

Ronda has sent dozens of wonderful photographs of your beautiful squares. This ezine format doesn't really allow me to include lots of photographs, but Kalai will put many of them up on the Face Book knit-a-square group and we will create a gallery, hopefully by next week when you get issue two. Just as a taste, here are a few. Aren't they wonderful.

A kaleidoscope of colour and love.

Here is a photograph of Josephine (Jo) and Lindiwe with Mike and Hilda at the post office who are as excited as we are.

Ronda wrote: Hilda is so caught up in the excitement, she rushes out to greet me and says she has started knitting her first square.

She had explained to everyone there, "that the people of the world want to help," and that seems to have inspired a great deal of enthusiasm for the project."

Isn't that great?


Opening and sorting – the bounty of your gifts

Many of you have written lovely notes and included little treats, all of which are very heart-warming and gratefully received by the Soweto Comfort Ladies as they worked.

Ronda wrote that it was like Christmas anyway, on the two occasions the SCC ladies got together during March to open parcels and sort out the squares.

Florence, Josephine, Lindiwe, Sonja and other helpers, among them Erin (Ronda's daughter and also moderator of the South African region on the forum, and her two children Daniel and Hannah) were all involved. Ronda said the excitement was electric on the Thursday before they set about organising for the first sewing bee.

I imagine that when you are in the presence of so much generosity and goodwill, knowing the benefits that so much crafted beauty will bring, that you would feel greatly uplifted and humbled at the same time.

The question has been asked – is their an end to this project? There can be no end in the forseeable future.

As I wrote to Tamara in Mexico, "there will be millions more orphans on the planet before the social issues surrounding AIDS and governments not having the political will to supply anti-retrovirals are resolved.

What we have done is to make the most wonderful start in beginning to address warming some of these many million of children. But more than that, you are each an ambassador for their plight, and the more of us who talk about it to others, the more awareness there is, the more likely change will come.

It is for their futures too, that we must be concerned. If the children are recipients of your bounty, then it is conceivable that they will experience just a glimmer of the kindness that exists in the world. Beyond being warm, this will encourage them as they grow older to imagine the possibilities that exist for their future.


The first of many tears

Among the parcels to be opened by Jo, was one containing two books, one by Joyce Meyer who is a best-selling Christian writer and TV evangelist and the other written by the sender herself, Dr. Betty Jane Ramsay. Jo was so overwhelmed when she read the title of Joyce Meyer's book ' Tell them I love them," she had to be 'mopped up' before she could pose for this photograph. A wonderful gift and we thank Dr Ramsey for her kindness.

Tears were going to rain all week as we approached the first sewing bee.


Organising the first sewing bee

Last week was very busy in South Africa, as Ronda and the others raced around, collecting parcels, organising them into bundles of similar weights and colours and packing them all up.

Plus Sonja, Jo and Lindiwe sewed together a few blankets as templates for the sewers to see on the day itself. Lindiwe had as her special project, overseeing the sewing teams and Jo, Florence and Ronda were also organising the actual event. A friend of Jo, Mr Nkunu, runs the "Mangalane Bakery" in Chiawelo, Soweto and had agreed to deliver fresh bread rolls on the day to the sewing ladies and every time they convene to stitch blankets together in the future.

More tears as Ronda heard from Jo, that the Soweto Community was really taking knit-a-square under their wing. A pastor of a small pentecostal church group which operates in one of the nearby squatter camps had also conveyed great interest in the project.

Indeed knitting and crocheting for small groups within Soweto will, in time, make the task of fair and even distribution of the blankets, jumpers and hats easier, especially if we know in advance the age and sex of the children.

Apart from the sewing teams, members of the parish community, the Soweto Comfort Club ladies, Father Francis of the Holy Rosary Phiri Parish in Soweto was to be there to bless the occasion.

Over here in Australia, apart from wanting very much to be there, we busied ourselves with writing instructions for the joining of the blankets, replying to correspondence and in my case, continuing to build the site. There is still so much information to go up including your tips and patterns, but more about that next issue.


The first recipients of your blankets

"Erin wrote about the day: Saturday was absolutely fantastic. Such a special, special day. I so wish you could all have been there. There was much talk about all of you, the knitters and crocheters, and so you are very much in the minds of all the people that were there. There were many tears shed and lots of relationships cemented.

I am SO happy that my children were able to witness this whole event unfolding and really be involved in it. It'll be one of the very special things woven into their fabric (or knitted, rather!), and I am sure something that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

Jamey is a young disabled orphan and Selina (affectionately known as Ma Mhlangu) is his elderly caregiver. Ronda wrote: "Most of the women who are involved in caring are the grandparents, because it is the 25 – 45 age-group which is being decimated by HIV AIDS. It is an awesome responsibility they take on when they themselves are a struggling section of the population in every sense of the word.

Truly they are an inspiration for other more wealthy women whose greatest anxieties may range from their looks to their clothes and money!" It does put life into perspective.

Jamey's wheelchair was donated by a collection organised by Debbie, who is in charge of the welfare for the community of the nearby Parish of St Phillip, Neri, Moletsane, Soweto.

The video made us all cry. Click on Jamey to view it, or go to the website, it is on the home page.

On this occasion, baby blankets were also given to the very small twins Lerato (girl) and Tebogo (boy) who were abandoned by their mother (father unknown) and left with their grandmother shortly after birth. At the time there was an appeal on radio and TV calling for the mother to return, but she has never been seen, or heard of, again.

Their grandmother (gogo) is unemployed and this trio are completely dependent on the squatter camp and church community for everything.

Little Lerato's face seems to reflect their sadness. I hope, as I am sure you do, that the blankets they have been given will bring a little warmth into their lives.


There is so much more to write to you about, and so many more photographs. I hope you will forgive me for ending the newsletter here and continuing on in 2 or 3 days time.

Ronda and I are just finalising the list of square senders, but in the meantime, please celebrate with us the arrival of so many squares, perhaps recognise some of your wonderful work, and bear with us as we work through these amazing, but rather frantic early months.

From all of us, all of the Soweto Comfort Club Ladies, especially Ronda, Jo, Lindiwe, Florence and Sonja and of course the community of Soweto whose small orphaned or abandoned children will benefit from your kindness.

With love and heartfelt thanks, Sandy

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