Stitching weaves connections to make a difference

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Stitching weaves connections to make a difference

 

Are you sometimes overwhelmed by all that is wrong on our beautiful planet, and how little you feel you can do about it?

The people of Northern Africa have recently demonstrated in a most powerful way that when we combine with belief, peace in our hearts and a common cause, there is a LOT we can achieve. They too used the internet to connect with others all around the globe to support their cause.

One of the greatest privileges for all of us touched by the work you do for the orphaned and vulnerable children in South Africa are the connections, in person, in communications, and in ideas that we create and share, one to another to another and another.

These connections result in extraordinary and inspirational outcomes which alone would be impossible to achieve.

These sometimes seemingly random connections contain a beautiful pattern of joy and goodwill just like the knitting and crochet you do.

Woven in an endless array of colour and light, they find, lift, touch, encourage, support, warm and comfort innumerable children and those who care for them, from the first stitch to the last.

 

They fulfil a truly empowering notion attributed to Harry S Truman: It is amazing what we can accomplish if no one person cares to take the credit.

This first of our Square Circle ezines for 2011 is all about connections. We are all delighted to connect to and welcome our new members.

We believe our new members may number 578 between our Square Circle subscribers, Forum members, Facebook Group and Ravelry members . Isn't that inspiring to consider – all those connections, all that energy.

So grab a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy
this bumper edition of Square Circle. It's chock full of brilliantly coloured and moving connections. And the beautiful children we have warmed to warm your heart too.

Contents
• A rainbow of knitted blankets
• An inspirational effort from our USA group
• Knit-a-square visits a creche in KlipTown
• Cundall Manor School and KasKids™
• Harlem Needle Arts aim for 7,500 squares
• The safest squares in the world - G4S and a personal passion for KAS
• The KasCare iThemba (Hope) Bus
• Isabelle flies in, with love, from France
• Ten Thousand Homes connects again
• The wheels of connections go round and round
• The joys of opening
• Request from Ronda
• Knit-a-square has a face lift.

 

A rainbow of knitted blankets

 

Erin through Hannah to Sharon to Joy to Pastor Fiston to Monte Waldi to the orphaned and vulnerable children of Compass in South Africa, from Isabelle and France and you in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Malaysia, Dubai . . . . By Ronda

Erin recently spoke with a teacher, Sharon Sabatier, at Holy Rosary (Hannah-B's school) about KAS, who suggested contacting Joy of the Compass Group.

COMPASS stands for Community Provision and Social Services. They are a really big organisation.

Sharon told Erin that COMPASS runs two places of safety for abused women and their children and for orphaned and vulnerable children without their abused parents.

(Ed Note. Erin expanded on this: They run hospices, places of safety, medical care (home-based and otherwise). Some of the children they look after are orphaned, some have parents who are still alive but unable to take care of them and some live there with their mothers because they have 'escaped' from an abusive situation.)

One of the shelters had been burned down just before Christmas by one of the enraged wife abusers who discovered his wife was sheltering there with their children ... so he put a match to their home. Miraculously nobody lost their lives, but these already poor people did lose what little they could call their own.

The burned out Compass building and the Monte Waldi School right opposite.

However, as Sharon explained, right across the road is a 'Monte Waldo' school, which is acting as a makeshift shelter. And this is where we went to distribute blankets and clothing (straight from France - courtesy Isabelle Bourginon and her airline colleagues and others) plus beanies, toys and stationery.

The shelter is being run by the most lovely man, Pastor Fiston, who is studying for his masters degree in child care and counseling.

Pastor Fiston with newly donated bunk-beds. Eds note: Not a stitch of bedding at this point.

This little girl attached herself to me ... as I got out of the car, she ran and flung her arms around my legs - so heartbreakingly touching.

We took about 40 blankets, but there are 60 children involved at the moment, so we will go back and take more blankets. It was a BOILING HOT day so we didn't have the heart to wrap these little ones up, although the caring staff were excited to put blankets on all the kids' beds. We must take more stationery too, soon.

Erin with the children. She is in her element with these little ones. This pretty little girl announced as she was doing Erin's hair, 'Auntie, you are so beautiful.'

It was such a lovely distribution - we arrived completely unannounced but were given such a warm welcome and when you think of how traumatized many of these people and the children must have been, they are truly amazing.

 

From Erin
We went back to COMPASS today. Just LOOK at that all those blankets on the beds. They had NO bedding at all when we went last week and now the whole place is decked out in KAS blanket glory! We took more blankets and stationery today because we didn't have enough when we went last week (underestimated the number of 'littlies' there'... what a special place.

I got goose-bumps when pastor Fiston opened that first bedroom door and there was just a rainbow of knitted blankets.

The children smothered in the love and comfort of your kaleidoscope of connections!
Each child is told they are unique and special and that they are important to the future of South Africa.

Letter from Erin to Mrs Sabatier

Dear Mrs Sabatier,
This is just a short note to thank you so much for putting us in contact with Joy at COMPASS recently. We spent a wonderful hour or so on Tuesday with the staff and precious little children at the MonteWaldi school opposite the COMPASS home that was burnt down (so tragic). We were able to donate about 30 knitted blankets (more to follow in the next week or so –we didn’t know at the time how many children there were), children’s clothing and some stationery and toys.

Pastor Fiston has expressed a need for more stationery which we will definitely be able to help with too. Our generous overseas contributors often include ‘drop-ins’ in their packages which include things like stationery, little toys, rain ponchos (we give many of these to the little children who live in the hills above Ellis Park stadium), books and stickers, beanies, scarves, jerseys etc. which means that we are blessed with a fairly constant supply of this type of thing as well as the blanket squares. If you do get a chance, please have a quick browse at knit-a-square so that you can get a general idea of what we do and the ‘work’ (in inverted commas because, actually, it is such a joy and doesn’t feel like work at all!) that we are so privileged to be able to carry out…

Thus far we have received close to 200,000 squares from people around the world and have been able to donate about 7,000 blankets (amongst other bits and bobs) to children affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

We have met some of the most incredible people ranging in age from birth to 90-odd. Gogos who have to take care of their grandchildren because they have lost their parents, children who are taking care of themselves and the thousands of women who have started up daycare centres and crèches with little or no resources because of the enormous need in places like Soweto, Alexandra and Tembisa. To be honest, we haven’t been scratched the surface yet, but we’re working on it! I thought I would just give a short report back and attach a few photos for you to see. Again, thank you very much for putting us in touch with COMPASS – we will be donating and helping where we can much more in the future… Please let us know if there are any other areas you think we may be able to assist. Take care and God bless.
Very best regards
Erin van der Vyver

And Sharon replied: " Thank you for responding so promptly to Compass and for establishing a connection with this very worthy cause. I am also so in awe of the incredible work that you do ... as I said to you, you are truly an angel and I pray that we can continue to work together in order to help the millions of underprivileged people in our midst. Erin, I thank the Lord for the day that you contacted me .... bless you. Kindly convey my sincere thanks to all the generous people with whom you work."

Erin's letter and Sharon's response capture so well the wonder of the work you do and the difference it makes.

We hope it will bring to life the importance of every stitch you make and every little item you 'drop in'.

Not a thing gets wasted. Everything makes its way through some fascinating chain of connection ultimately to a child, like this little boy. In this case, children who had little to start with and then lost everything they had.

 

Please join our Facebook Group

 

An inspirational effort from our USA group

 

Paulette to Dawne to Helen to the USA Group to the 70 orphaned and vulnerable children in creches somewhere in Soweto, who will soon be comforted with their own unique blanket and told they are special and loved.

It came about because Paulette asked about the Adopt A KasCreche program in early January. Dawne answered and Helen responded on the 15 January with this idea:

If a creche costs roughly US $550 to sponsor, surely we can find 55 folks in our U.S. group who would be willing to chip in $10.00 each to fund a creche. I would be willing to act as treasurer, keep the tally, deposit the contributions and make the payment through Paypal. I also believe that if the idea of a creche sponsorship is "spread abroad" among our friends who aren't on the Forum, we would realize more contributions to add to the tally even if we don't have a full 55 group members contributing.

The response was heartfelt and in less than a month, the group have raised enough money to 'Adopt' not just one but TWO creches.

Here is a very powerful example of how an idea can connect. This vital contribution not only ensures children in two creches will get blankets, beanies, toys and whatever stationery we have at the time, but that we can continue to afford to do this on the ground in South Africa.

Even a small contribution, added to another and another, and the dollars add up.

We run KAS on a shoestring. So to have a contribution like this is like winning the lottery! The entire KAS team here in Australia and in South Africa thanks you in the USA group for giving so generously, but also inspiring others to take your lead.

Your support puts arms around us too. With your help, everything seems possible. You inspire us to greater visions for KAS. Whenever there is a response like this, creativity fills our hearts and minds, the ideas flow, we are renewed with zeal for what we do and for the children for whom we do it.

Please visit the USA Group and ask about them directly about their efforts. There are so many creative ways in which a group can raise $550. Why not start a discussion in the forum about the best ways to do this.

But above all please be inspired by the USA group and help us put more blankets on more children.

 

Knit-a-square visits a creche in KlipTown
By Dawne

Knit-a-square’s visit to Kliptown Shack Settlement is a very powerful story needing to be told.

As it is an important story I must let the telling unfold rather than rush through it in one huge post . . . to follow this story click through to All for Orphans.

 

 

 

Cundall Manor School exemplifies KasKids™

The responses in the forum to this schools' extraordinary efforts to bring together 2,602 knitted squares, have been eloquent in their praise, as they should. We all thank you, Sophie and Paula, the students and your community for this fantastic combined effort.

This mighty effort together with many other contributing schools, exemplifies our KasKids™ program, as I wrote to Susan Goss Clements of the school recently:

“We are absolutely thrilled by this wonderful contribution from the students of Cundall Manor School. We are so excited when a school and their community get so involved in knitting squares for our knit-a-square program, as usually that means not only have the children learned a life long skill – knitting – but they have also understood the plight of children so less fortunate than they. When the children who have made these squares go to bed at night, they can sleep well knowing these squares will soon be warming more than 70 small children made vulnerable or orphaned by HIV/ AIDS, who would otherwise be cold at night.”

Other universities and schools who have involved their communities and made significant contributions, and about whom we have written, include:

Cedarwood School (Johannesburg),who produced a wopping 4,000 squares in their first contribution and another 4,000 squares in the following year.

Mater Christi College (Melbourne) who ran the program over four terms and produced over 2,250 squares.

Methodist Ladies College (Melbourne) who are this year introducing the program to years 7-12. Last year the program was introduced only to the year 11 International Baccalaureates and they alone produced 1,000 squares!

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who through the organisation of one fourth year student, Dhana Misken, produced 2,250 squares.

Prince of Peace Lutheran College (Brisbane) who through the auspices of one of our Moderators, Elizabeth have been contributing for nearly two years. I could not find their tally to date, but it numbers over 1,000 squares.

There are an estimated 250 schools world wide contributing to our square tally, everyone is greatly important to us. It matters not whether there contribution is five or 5,000, every square ends up in a blanket with other squares from around the world. Every square is a currency of hope. If six colleges and schools between them can produce over 16,000 squares, can you imagine if this year, another 50 similar establishments got involved?

As this ezine goes to 'cyber press', Roger is putting the finishing touches to the KasKids™ program program for Australia which aims to introduce 250 schools to knit-a-square this year. We are seeking funding to help us to do this from appropriate organisations. Soon, we hope to do the same in South Africa and once we are incorporated in the USA/Canada and UK, the same there.

You can help us by spreading the word to people you may know in colleges, universities and schools and referring them to this ezine, for inspiration from schools like Cundall Manor School.

Or donate here to help us get Knit-a-square into schools throughout Australia, South Africa and the world.

 

 

Harlem Needle Arts

 

Another remarkable connection and initiative on behalf of the children. Thank you Michelle Bishop, Harlem Needle Arts AND and the good folk of Harlem. We look forward greatly to you reaching your goal of 7,500 squares.

 

 

The safest squares in the world
G4S and a personal passion for KAS

 

From Kalai to Frank to Sandy and Roger to Wendy to Leana to Carin to Ronda and the team, to the inmates of Manguang Correctional Centre to the orphaned and vulnerable children in creches in the Bloemfontein region of South Africa. From you.

"Having been involved in charity work on numerous occasions throughout my life, I was so inspired by what they [KasCare] had accomplished and was determined to find a way to help. Wendy Hardy, PR Manager, G4S Cash Solutions, South Africa

Roger McDonald (KasCare Australia), recently asked Wendy Hardy of G4S to tell the story of their involvement in KAS and what she sees as the future of our partnership.

What got you and G4S involved in KasCare and the knit-a-square program in the first place?
In the early part of 2010, a colleague and friend, Frank Moxham asked whether I would be prepared to meet with Roger and Sandy from Australia to talk about KAS and share any ideas I may have regarding the logistics of the project, fundraising, corporate involvement etc. 

I agreed and was very touched by the work they and their extended family were doing in SA.  We discussed numerous possibilities for the project, but at that stage no promises were made.  Having been involved in charity work on numerous occasions throughout my life, I was so inspired by what they had accomplished and was determined to find a way to help.  I mentioned KAS to a colleague and like-minded friend, Leana Goosen at our Care and Justice business and we starting formulating a proposal for a pilot partnership with KAS. 

One of the key values of G4S internationally is Collaboration and Teamwork and through the G4S Cash Solutions, G4S Care and Justice and KAS partnership we have been able to pool our resources, expertise and manpower for the greater benefit of children within SA.

What is your main function in the project?
From a personal point of view I have been officially tasked by G4S with overseeing the project and am very involved in the logistics thereof.  But, because of my personal passion for the project, both my family and I have become involved in various other ways too – unpacking parcels and sorting the contents, updating the databases together with Ronda and communicating with a few of the contributors as well as designing and sewing together blankets.  My daughter Sarah also spent a day with Ronda “taking back” her spare room by sorting all the many contributions of clothing, toys, stationery etc.

The role G4S plays currently includes:

Collecting packages from the Bryanston Post Office if Ronda’s regular pick up is not able to do so.

Unpacking any packages collected or sent to us when the load becomes unmanageable, although at the moment we have things so tied up that Ronda and her team are able to open everything every Thursday – come on world, bring on those squares!

Arranging for squares to be taken to our Germiston branch and loaded onto an armoured vehicle for onward delivery to our Bloemfontein branch, who in turn deliver the squares to the Mangaung Correctional Centre.

At MCC the squares are sorted and blankets are designed

Selected inmates then sew the blankets together

Distribution of the blankets.

14 658 squares – the squares unpacked by G4S staff in the backlog blitz

Safest squares in the world – the squares are transported in and armoured vehicle from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein.  We run a fleet of 850 vehicles

 

How did you come up with the idea of involving prison inmates in a trial project?
It was actually an idea that Leana Goosen and I spoke about after I had met with Roger and Sandy. 

Because Mangaung Correctional Centre recognizes that inmates need access to constructive, purposeful activities each day to create a healthy environment for all and that offending behaviour needs to be targeted with offence specific and offence related programmes, each inmate has an individual sentence plan determining his development path. 

Staff at Mangaung Correctional Centre display some of the blankets.

As part of these development plans, inmates are involved with various creative programs and have, in the past, assisted the community through similar projects.  Sewing and knitting was another skill that could be taught with such a positive outcome.

Inmates who are on the waiting list for tailoring as a skills development programme in accordance to their individual sentence plan were selected for this project as this opportunity will give them a good foundation before starting the actual course.

Wendy took the time to write a full and very interesting background to Manguang Correctional Centre and its core philosophy which you can read by clicking on the link.

How does the project work and how is it going? (eg is it a one-off, or can you see it continuing, expanding, being replicated in other locations?
The project has been very enthusiastically adopted by all concerned with staff at G4S Cash Solutions Head Office begging me to get more parcels and even been able to identify some of the regular contributors by name and ensuring that only they open those particular parcels. 

Our Training Room was converted into a sorting area for a week and staff volunteered to unpack parcels.

As always, our branch based colleagues have been very helpful in ensuring that squares are loaded and delivered to MCC weekly or as and when needed. Colleagues at MCC carefully plan the arrival of the squares and have set into motion a working process.  As with all projects there are various logistic issues to deal with and iron out, but we believe we now have a working system in place. 

As you are aware, it was agreed that we would run this as a pilot project in order to assess how it would work and whether all the parties involved could get along and achieve the objectives of KAS.  I do not see any reason why this partnership would not continue and in fact expand.  Between the three main G4S operating companies in South Africa, we have 51 branches strategically situated across the country and we employ over 13 000 people in South Africa alone.  Globally, G4S is the world’s leading international integrated security solutions group, operating in 120 countries with more than 625 000 employees. 

The potential to expand this project would be determined entirely by the enthusiasm of the knitters out there to send squares to South Africa!   

Some of the blankets at MCC, already made up.

 

Wendy wrote a personal note: The Hardy's are totally addicted to KAS!

I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day after Christmas, than with the family involved in our best thing ever -KAS! Shirley (my mother in law) and Angela (my sister in law) are on the swing sewing together a blanket. Sarah (my daughter) models one of 10 rain ponchos she unpacked and although you cannot see them, the rest of the family is unpacking the mail I collected on Christmas Eve. It is like Christmas every day! Thank you for allowing us to become involved in this amazing initiative.

Angela is sewing squares sent by Anneke who also enclosed this poem.

35 squares, make one blanket
35 squares, protection against a cold night
35 squares, to give some warmth
and a smile on the face of a child!

What a perfect segue, Anneke, into the story of the KasCare bus!

 

The KasCare iThemba (Hope) Bus

 

If you are new to KasCare, you may not know that we run regular challenges in the Square Circle Forum and Ravelry.

Over the months these have been greatly motivational and succeeded in hugely increasing our square and garment tallies. They were first started before we had the forum in Ravelry by Kyla, one of our moderators and it was Kyla who raised the idea of a bus some months ago.

At first the idea was centered on a school bus, but as we talked together around the world, we developed it to embrace the truly iconic African bus, full of colour and loaded to the hilt.

Anneke's poem so aptly describes the synergy of numbers that we decided on. 35 blankets made of 35 squares for 35 children, totaling 1,225 squares for each bus. The idea was to keep adding children to the window and blankets onto the roof, but we put the challenge up on February 4 and 10 days later the first bus was full! So already our second bus is ready to go, the KasCare Ithanda (love) bus.

We are running this challenge for three months and hope to fill a fleet of 15 buses to respond to our G4S prisoner program's need for a steady stream of squares.

Earlier I spoke of connections not just of people but of ideas. Here is an inspired example from Anne G in the forum, who has donated just a little extra to buy a ticket for each child on the bus for $1.00. Thank you so much Anne.

Please hop on into the forum and join us. Remember every square counts. If every current member of the community knitted just two squares each that would fill eight buses and warm and comfort 280 more children.

 

Isabelle flies in with love from France

 

From a flight attendant talking to a passenger knitting for KAS between New York and Paris to meeting Wendy, Ronda and the team in South Africa, to the children of Compass.

Isabelle is a French 'angel' according to Wendy Hardy who met her in December 2010 when she had a brief stop over. Isabelle had come across KAS through asking a women knitting on a flight she was on what she was doing. And now she has made two visits to South Africa and will be returning soon, each time piled high with squares and clothes for KAS.

Wendy wrote: Because postage from France is so expensive, Isabelle requested via the airline she works for to travel to South Africa, preferably on a regular basis, providing her with the perfect means of getting donations to us. 

I met up with her at the hotel she was staying at in Sandton, Johannesburg on 23 December 2010.  Ronda and Erin were not able to join us because they were off on a well deserved holiday. 

Naturally, Isabelle’s colleagues were intrigued by the large amount of luggage she had for an overnight stay and after explaining to them what she was doing, many of them offered to carry contributions in the future.  So, Isabelle has established a charitable courier service involving her colleagues and it has certainly taken off (pardon the pun!). 

She visited us again on the 26 and 27, January and was able to bring across seven packages of clothing.  She joined us at Ronda’s home on the Thursday to help unpack parcels and see how the project works on this side of the world.  She was dying to meet Ronda, Erin and the team, which she finally got to do.

A large part of the donation received via Isabelle was given to the home in Edenvale [ parcels of second hand clothes taken to Compass] that burnt down.

Isabelle is actively encouraging friends and colleagues to gather goods for KAS and we look forward to her next visit to SA.

Peter, my husband and I took Isabelle out for dinner when she last visited and learnt so much about her, her family and France.  We have agreed to take her to visit baby lions next time she visits.

Thank you Isabelle for your fabulous enthusiasm for all things KAS and for translating our KAS flyer into French and organising a Dutch translation as well. These will be put up onto the site, just as soon as we are able to do so.

Isabelle displays a completed blanket at Ronda's home.

 

 

Ten Thousand Homes connects again

 

One of our earlier challenges was to make initialed blankets for the some 130 orphaned and vulnerable children supported by Ten Thousand Homes, through various endeavors in the East of South Africa, about 300 kilometres from Johannesburg.

The story of how we came to know about Ten Thousand Homes is told on the Knit-a-square website . Again, it was an online connection with these two wonderful young women, Jen Price and Keri Dodge who found us on the internet and wrote to ask if we would consider providing blankets for the children they cared for.

It was very successful, although Ronda found it difficult work to co-ordinate the initialed squares with blanket bundles as they arrived over a period of some months.

Most of the blankets were made and distributed to the children for whom they were designated over a period of about a year, many of them documented in issues of Square Circle.

Recently Keri wrote to say that on a visit back to the USA she had met with a group of women at the Rolling Hills Community Church in Lago Vista, Texas who were knitting for Knit-a-square. They asked if they could partner with Ten Thousand Homes, through KasCare, to provide blankets for a new community called Dwaleni.

We both replied to Keri with great enthusiasm. Ronda wrote: amazing, just yesterday I was thinking about the children in White River under Ten Thousand Homes' care, intending to make contact to discuss how to complete the original project in terms of numbers of blankets and items of warm clothing still outstanding.

We are familiar with the Rolling Hills Community Church - they have been regular and generous contributors to Knit-a-Square.

I now have two massive bags full from them, so we will organize to get these to Keri, plus more squares, beanies and jerseys soon so they can get started on making more blankets. 

Another wonderful demonstration of world-wide connections making a difference in children's lives, we could not possibly have known about otherwise.

Important note: Ronda suggests if groups would like to designate squares to a particular project, to please mark this clearly on your parcels and we will make every endeavor to accomodate your request.

 

 

The wheels of connections go round and round

Marci Handley started the group on the Forum, it is Hip To Be Square for ex-patriots living in the USA. She is in South Africa until June when her husband's contract with Eskom (a major electricity supplier in South Africa) ends.

At some point last year she made contact with Ronda and has been volunteering for us on a regular basis ever since. Ronda wrote recently about one an opening that they had ended up with nearly 3000 squares mainly because Marci arrived with the first 968 squares. Ronda is in awe of how much she and her friends and contacts have generated in contributions for KAS. She is soon to write a report on all their various activities, both in South Africa and in her home town in the USA. Her church group over there have recently held a KAS Saturday.

As Ronds says, Marci is actually a one woman KAS whirlwind, bless her heart!

Marci introduced Ronda and the team to Ginny Marsden at Just Ginns in Sunninghill. They have been working 'behind the scenes' for KAS in the most incredibly supportive manner to present Ginny a KasCare certificate of appreciation. Ginny makes up and sells knitting packs, the proceeds of which she gives Marci, who sends them to KAS to the tune of USD50/month or thereabouts which is a fantastic contribution for which we are very grateful.

We have received more than 1,000 squares through Ginny. The squares are given to her from Jill Longmore of Bryandale School which, incredibly, is the school Sian and Erin went to when they first arrived in Johannesburg from Zimbabwe in 1984.

Thank you Marci and your group, Ginny and Jill, from everyone in KAS for your joint volunteer efforts, contributions, donations and enthusiasm.

The KasCare Shop

Marci recently bought KAS t-shirts back for the team in South Africa from the USA as they were way to expensive to buy from South Africa. They are available through the current KAS shop. Ronda has been contacted by Ruth offering us very inexpensive t-shirts.

Kerry and Pam (two of our hard-working forum moderators) have been thinking of ways in which we can raise additional funds for KasCare for sometime now. They are exploring car decals and packs of rulers among other things.

I have been doing some research on a simple way to make a shop online and found a system which is very inexpensive and which can be implemented without outside resources.

Watch this space everyone. The real KasCare Shop will be online soon. Apart from helping to spread the word about KasCare and the children, we have loads of ideas on what we can pack our online shelves with to tempt you, your family and friends.

We also think that it should be a shop that is supplied by your talents as well, so let's start discussing what hand made Christmas gifts we could stock our shop with now, which your family and friends will love to purchase.

Kerry has started a conversation in the forum. Please join in and support our work to support our work!

As always this is an opportunity to thank our regular donors without whom we could not continue to put blankets on children. We all owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you.

If you do not yet donate, PLEASE consider just a small monthly amount. You can donate here.

Every cent counts. Your donations do more even than help us put blankets on children.

A dollar is not just a dollar.

Each cent of each dollar fuels another activity, written words, communications, connections ..... and we all know now what happens when those connections are made.

 

The joys of opening

 

Thanks to the extraordinary help of Wendy of G4S, her family and staff at G4S, Ronda's house was empty of parcels for a very short time for the very first time since March 2009!

Then Big John (Hotel Hope's driver) came back from the post office with the current week's arrivals and returned with his trailer absolutely full to overflowing. So not anymore!

Then the UK parcels arrived and we were back in business. As it was before. As Ronda said, a wonderful problem to have.

Three parcels from the Far East - Hong Kong, China and Malaysia. The team loved the one written in Mandarin.

Ruth Nkosi runs the Hotel Hope "Mothers in Crisis" ministry and does an amazing job. She came to sort out boxes of stationery to take to one or two very needy crèches in Alexandra and is going to try and take some pics. This will be KAS first foray into Alexandra. Here she is on the floor of the office going through some of the stationery items.

One of Wendy's favorites: two soft toys made our of Orphan Sox; what an ingenious idea. How many millions of orphan sox are there in the world today?

Beautiful squares received from Mrs A Jessup from England.

Another fine example of connections: Natasha to Katrin to Wendy to Ronda to the inmates to the children in Bloemfontein. Natasha lives in Wisconsin, although she is South African. Here she is with Ronda and Wendy.

Gorgeous beanies from Julia Dee - yet another precious KAS Community member, who contributes week after week.

These beautiful toys, which the children will so love have been hand-made. Ed Note: Please, whoever made them, would you contact me. Ronda has noted it in the Excel lists, but I cannot find reference to it.

Marci holding a 'family' of bears from the incredible Christine Johnson ... she absolutely boggles our minds with her generosity as she inspires people to contribute, then collects their work and posts it all herself - and every single parcel comes with a beautiful card and explanation of the contents and a message of blessing!

A plea from Ronda She has a 5-ream paper box filled to the brim with letters and cards needing a reply. Please can she ask for your understanding, as she would like to start with a clean slate and begin with the replies from March now that we have printed some thank you notes. It is so unlikely that she will be able to find the time to prioritize replies to this accumulated wealth of beautiful and heartfelt letters at this point.

We so hope you have enjoyed this lengthy edition of Square Circle. Please visit the Square Circle forum discussion for feedback and discussion on any of the issues raised in this edition.

We now plan to issue Square Circle every second month. In between, you can follow our news on All for Orphans and the Forum.

Knit-a-square has had a facelift on some of its pages. Still to come are improved free knitting patterns and crochet patterns and introducing the third column to all the pages. There are about 90 pages on the site, so this will take time, but in the meantime, we really welcome your feedback. You can leave your comments in the same discussion as Square Circle.

You can meet our two wonderful volunteers, Lindiwe and Wandile in the forum. They look forward to meeting you too and to telling you about the incredible work they are doing on the ground to put blankets around children.

This work should not go unpaid any longer as it takes up much of their working lives. We are looking forward to your generous donations to support us in providing some reimbursement to these amazing women, without whom KAS would not find the very most needy children, in the shack settlements to warm, love and comfort. To further support these children, you can donate here.

This comes with gratitude and deep affection for you and your families. Keep safe, warm or cool (and dry) wherever you are in the world. Sandy (on behalf of Ronda, Roger Erin, Kalai, Peter, Lindiwe and Wandile).

PS. Here are the square lists.

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Stitches Weaves Connections to make a difference.

Sleep well, little girl. Your well-being is in the hearts of more than 5,000 people around the world.