Many years ago, we learned about a small orphaned girl known as Sweetness. She was being helped by a grassroots organisation, called Ten Thousand Homes in South Africa.
Sweetness came to represent for us the many millions of orphaned girls and boys that Knit-a-square works to help today.
Britany who worked for Ten Thousand homes then shared her story.
‘She is barely three years old and already her eyes reflect the harsh reality that is her life. Orphaned as an infant, Sweetness has been passed around from relative to relative before landing on the doorstep of a widowed uncle.
Out of necessity, he’s gone most of the day at work, leaving the three year old behind to fend for herself. Infected with AIDS, his death will follow swiftly on the heels of her parents and Sweetness will soon be orphaned for the second time.
When I first started work in Kabokweni, Sweetness was shy and would not approach me willingly. She is too solemn for one so small and often stares at her feet rather than respond when I try to talk to her.
Sometimes I pick her up whether she acknowledges me or not and hold her close. She doesn’t fight, but lays passive in my arms and keeps her head down. I feel the hard, roundness of her stomach. She looks like a pregnant toddler, but I know that this is often caused by malnutrition.
Yesterday, I was playing a game with about fifty of the kids. They were being loud and acting more rambunctious than normal, but still for the most part good-natured. There was a lot of noise, that amazing crescendo unique to children and, while I was laughing and yelling along with the rest of them, organising a game was fast becoming impossible.
And in that moment of chaos, I felt tiny arms encircle my leg and a small body pressed itself close to me. This alone was not unusual, but as I glanced down and saw Sweetness, her cheek resting on my thigh her eyes raised to me, I felt near to tears. She stayed glued to me the rest of the day and I let her cling all she wanted. Or maybe it was she who let me cling.’
What you can do
When you read a story about an orphaned girl like Sweetness, it makes your heart heavy and your hands itch to do something. This is what you can do.
We hope Knit-a-square will inspire you as a compassionate crafter to add to this wonderful work by providing love, comfort and warmth for orphaned or vulnerable children.
So please crochet or knit a square (or more) and send them to make up blankets for the children. You can find out all about how to contribute here.
Join us the warmest crafters on earth in our Square Circle Forum for knitting and crocheting fun as you work to warm and comfort for children like Sweetness, children so greatly in need of your love.