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Square Circle Issue #15 A baby in a box
September 08, 2009
A baby in a box
It is so exciting looking on the forum every day to see new members joining (now 506), recently from the Republic of Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Wales and Spain. We are truly a world wide community. Ravelry.com has 405 members, Face Book over 400 members and each day a number of new folk subscribe to the ezine. Welcome to all our new members and also thank you to all of you who are spreading the word about knitting and crocheting for the orphans and abandoned children.
SQUARE CIRCLE UPDATE 2
The distribution of blankets continues deep into the heart of the shack settlements.
Last week Lindiwe and Wandile from Protea South, our hard working Soweto Comfort Club volunteers distributed 54 blankets to 3 little creches in Protea South without Ronda who was home nursing the flu. She is much better.
At Mamzhosana Siyanqoba Creche, Lindiwe took the photograph of little Mpumeli
And here he is, with his warm cosy blanket in the arms of the one of the assistants at the creche. Mpumeli looks like a wise little soul.
There is a flurry of these tiny make-shift day care centres all over the shack settlements.
We delivered 17 blankets to the children of this little crèche, Holyness Daycare.
Much of this speaks of great poverty. Many of the carers who may be grandmothers, foster parents or single parents, must leave their very young charges early in the morning to travel great distances to work, returning late to collect them.
Four year old Karabo Nakedi, left, lost his mother last year and lives with his grand mother who is desperately poor and often unable to pay for him at the crèche which causes hardship all along the line. A common problem, sadly.
Mfusi on the left, is just three and has been newly orphaned.
The children at Holyness Daycare with their blankets, left to right, Katleho (maroon, dark green/blue blanket), Sponky (stripey t-shirt), Keke (red square), Thandeka (white square), Karabo (no shoes) and Modlehi (behind Karabo). I hope some of you recognise your squares in these blankets and are now able to put a name to the little children who have them.
Wandile herds the little ones together at Mamzhosana Siyanqoba crèche to have their photograph taken with their blankets on.
Thembelihle Bajabulile crèche- we only delivered four blankets here, but will return with more soon. Lukhanyo, Thembelihle and Lungisani with their blankets
Mbali standing at the back, with Lukhanyo, Thembelihle and Lungisani. Thandeko - who is a leader of the Methodist Church where KAS distributed blankets to in May 09, and Wandile trying to organise this little group!
Relatively, these young children are at least in care some of the time, unlike many children who wander the lane ways of the settlements in small groups, alone, cold in winter and more than likely very hungry.
With Wandile's help, we hope to find many of these children before next winter and make sure they have blankets to keep them warm. We are also planning an interview soon with Lindiwe, Wandile and Deborah of Moletsane, so that we can truly understand the needs of the children and their carers, particularly in light of the discussion we have been having on the forum about Christmas.
Postal Strike continues, but don't be alarmed
It was off, but then it was back on last week because of a dispute between the unions and the postal workers. However Godfrey Malatchi, a manager at Bryanston Post Office called to say that he was personally looking after all of the KAS mail while the strike was on, which is both a good measure of the relationship KAS now enjoys with the post office and greatly reassuring.
Please do not be alarmed if you have sent your parcels, the strike will most likely be over by the time they arrive. Ronda's task in opening and documenting all the arriving squares will be a bit daunting in the coming weeks, so I hope you will bear with us as we catch up. It is likely that we will not be posting lists of arriving squares until at least the end of September. But please, look at these photographs and know that your squares have arrived and are making a difference.
Here is a little face to touch your heart.
A video to make you smile
From handing our first blanket to Jamey in March 2009, Ronda has been taking snippets of video at most of the distributions. Technically, this is difficult territory for both of us! However, I have learned enough of the basics to put together a few snippets at a time to create a video which can be uploaded onto the site.
This next video is of our second distribution at Moletsane with the go-gos, (grand mothers) sewing the blankets. One can only marvel at their beautiful voices, perfect pitch and a cappello singing. In the last segment the go-gos sing 'siyabonga' which means thank you.
Watch out for the adorable little girl peeking out from behind her grandmother. The resolution is a little low, but I am sure you will none the less be heart-warmed by the outcome of your work. Click here to watch it.
Beautiful work - aren't these crochet squares a delight. And a letter from Melody which we were so pleased to see, as she was the very first person to write to me after the article went out in Lion Brand, last February. We were all so thrilled to be contacted by someone from Texas at the time. Hope your little grand child is thriving Melody!
September Challenge forges ahead
The story of the Jabulani Khakibos boys and the Hill Kids made a great impression on you all. There were pages and pages of discussions in the forum about the Hill Kids plight and what we could do for them. Out of that came the September Challenge:
For more details please visit the forum. There are plenty of options from knitting or crocheting one of 1,225 'teen boy squares in terms of colour and yarn" for the Jabulani Khakibos boys blankets, or making them GO-OVERS™ based on Anne or Zanny's patterns which you can download from the site. You can also make them hats.
This is Anne's pattern for an older teenage lad, modelled by her grandson.
For the Hill Kids we have decided the best option is felted squares made from old jumpers and blankets. There are many tips on how to best do this in the forum and here on the site It is a simple and quick way to get warmth to these children who live in the hills with no shelter. They also need hats.
We have uploaded the names of the boys on the forum,, so you can choose to knit for a particular boy if you wish.
This beautiful GO-OVER™ above was made by Melissa. Don't you love the pug! Very talented.
Stephanie, founder of the Jabulani Khakibos Boys wrote in a letter to Ronda:
Thanks so much for helping the children at Jabulani Khakibos Kids and the Outreach Team (who visit the Hill Kids) with the beanies. Everybody loves them, especially as they are hand made with love. The kindness and compassion of all the Knit-a-Square participants is greatly appreciated.
We have a new little 10 year old boy called Gift, who is not on the list yet, we are trying to get all the information from the woman who brought him to us last week and will let you know as soon as possible.
I hope you will consider making a pledge for the Jabulani boys of the Hill Kids this September. We have all agreed that the challenge can run over as many months as it takes to complete what is required for these children. If you want more details, this post in the forum. is full of information.
Ideas The ideas are flowing thick and fast. There is just so much we can all do. I am currently reading a book by renowned philosopher, Peter Singer, called 'The life we can save". It is very confronting.
But on the other hand, he only asks that:
There are things we can do and are doing. Your efforts to buy or find yarn, knit or crochet squares and post them at your cost fit in exactly with this philosophy.
Keeping a child warm is essential. Raising awareness of the orphans plight is also vital.
First and foremost we will give our children warmth, but here are some other contributions we can make:
WHAT DO THE HILL KIDS NEED?
HOW CAN WE HELP THEM PLAY AND STAY HEALTHY?
So many of you have come up with great ideas, Karen thought of an easy way to construct a toiletries pack and Anne a 'Square Bag' made out of knitted/crocheted squares to carry their belongings.
Everyone in the forum agreed that money sent to South Africa would be the best way to go. Firstly it allows the people on the ground to purchase what is really useful, but it also supports their economy. Many people are also just finding the odd little thing, a pencil, packet of crayons, pack of erasers, packet of hair clips and 'dropping' them into their parcel of squares!
What we can assure you is that every dollar you send will be used to achieve all of the above.
You can donate here.
We have a name
Thank you so much for your input. While KASAid was an early choice for our umbrella organisation's name, it was not available and now we are glad, because Ronda came up with KAScare, and doesn't that neatly sum up everything we do?
We can also use KASkids as our education program down the track.
In the meantime, please rest assured that this does not change ANYTHING about knit-a-square.com, which stays exactly the same, same website, same forum, same agenda. KAScare is just our over-arching organisational name. Our incorporation will now go through fairly quickly and we will soon be a fully fledged not-for profit organisation.
More beautiful work. Such lovely colours which will make a very happy blanket for a child.
Dedicate a square
We will soon put up a page on the website called "dedicate-a-square" based on Elizabeth from the forum's touching idea of dedicating squares to her grandfather who is unwell. There are many different ways squares can be dedicated: to the children, to their carers or to someone you love who is no longer with you. If you have any ideas about how you think this may work, please start a discussion on the forum.
Africa in August
How talented are our KAS knitters and crocheters. Aren't these squares wonderful and such fun to imagine each one of them in a blanket given to a child.
The Plain Jane Square
When you see work of such a talent you may be inclined to think that your good old 8" garter stitch square is not worth much. Well please reconsider! As Anne Powell so rightly points out in this, another one of her delightful 'knonsense' poems posted on the blog in the forum.
I’m just a ‘plain Jane’ square
We have received some truly astonishing submissions for the KAS book. Stories that have reduced us to tears, made us happy, made us smile and laugh and just made us realise how deeply fortunate we are to belong to this community of caring people. Some are short, some are long, all of them just written in your voices which makes them real and truly valuable.
We very much hope to receive a lot more before the end of September, so please visit the forum for the details on how to submit and be part of this first book about knit-a-square. Each book sold is going to support the work we do, so you will be doing two good things in one!
You can donate here.
From the forum
Pooh Corner has elicited many fond memories in the last month.
Kalai shared this with the forum, so I am sharing it with you. Inspired by Christine yesterday I brought my Complete Collection of Stories and Poems by A.A. Milne in to work today. This is the first page I opened it on and it made me laugh so much I thought I'd share it!
Eeyore, the old grey Donkey, stood by the side of the stream, and looked at himself in the water. "Pathetic" he said. "That's what it is. Pathetic".
He turned and walked slowly down the stream for twenty yards, splashed across it, and walked slowly back on the other side. Then he looked at himself in the water again.
"As I thought," he said. "No better from this side. But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is." There was a crackling noise in the bracken behind him, and out came Pooh.
"Good morning Eeyore," said Pooh.
"Good morning Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he. "Why, what's the matter?"
"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."
"Can't all what?" said Pooh rubbing his nose.
"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."
"Oh!" said Pooh. He thought for a long time, and then asked, "What mulberry bush is that?"
"Bon-hommy," went on Eeyore gloomily. "French word meaning bonhommy," he explained. "I'm not complaining but There It Is."
Pooh sat down on a large stone, and tried to think this out. It sounded to him like a riddle, and he was never much good at riddles, being a Bear of Very Little Brain. So he sung Cottleston Pie instead.
Keeping it in the family. Kelly, Erica and Elaine working on a blanket during Mary and Anne Lokken's recent visit to their mother in the USA for her 80th birthday. The family got together and made this blanket. Great effort and thank you.
Knit-a-square's one year anniversary is October 19th. Well that is the day the home page of knit-a-square.com went live. The actual idea and the start of it all was September 7th. Let's make October 19th the anniversary - any ideas to celebrate in a way that will benefit our children?
Cressida and I are off to Daylesford tomorrow to present to the next lot of year nine students and two new schools, Daylesford Primary and Hepburn Springs Primary School.
We understand that the secondary students are going to teach the primary students to knit - how special is that? Elaine Anderson, the local chaplain has been pivotal in getting all these schools going in this country area. Thank you Elaine.
We will also be popping into Purl's Palace, a wonderful yarn shop whose members have so far contributed well over 300 squares. Purl's Palace is celebrating their 3 year anniversary. These folk have just made it happen.
I hope you will be inspired by them. Many of you continue to support us by buying the Teacher Resource and we are very appreciative both of the donation and the fact that it means more children will be knitting for more children.
Please let us know or send us photographs like these great pictures from Jana Hunter of her pupils in Saudi Arabia.
The next update may be some weeks away.
Internet seminars, weddings, shifting locations sit in between this and our next communication. I hope sincerely that you will keep knitting and crocheting, knowing that your efforts continue to make a huge difference.
Take great care, you are very special people, Sandy
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