WARMING OUR CHILDREN - INSIDE AND OUT!

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The temperatures in South Africa have dropped to below freezing during the evenings in many parts of the country recently and there have been reports of snow on the mountains – we have been making sure that the little ones are all wrapped up warm in your lovely blankets!  So, I am sure you will forgive us if the reports have been few and far between lately, but our energy is focussed elsewhere – I know you understand.

 

I recently mentioned a wonderful organisation called JAM International.  Well, I am so pleased to be able to share with you the meaningful partnership we are developing with this organisation.  But, let me talk a little about JAM first and then I will explain more about how we are working together.

 

Joint Aid Management (JAM), is an African founded and headquartered, Christian, international humanitarian relief and development organisation, operating sustainable aid programmes targeting vulnerable people throughout the African continent.

 

They operate on a fully inclusive basis, without discrimination of race, religion, gender or political persuasion.

 

JAM now assists more than one million people daily though their programmes in five African countries (Angola, South Sudan, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa).  JAM’s programmes focus on food and nutrition security, assistance to orphans and vulnerable children, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS programmes, skills training and agricultural development.

 

KAS was introduced to David Brown who heads up the organisation at one of the “67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day” events and he invited Wendy and I to visit their offices and get a better understanding of what they do.  We had actually been to their offices before where we joined a South African business on Mandela Day 2011 to sew together KAS blankets, but we never toured the facility at the time.

 

We were completely blown away by the incredible work that JAM does in Africa and after numerous back and forward emails and chats, KAS will be assisting JAM in signing up the very many crèche and day care facilities we visit to ensure that the children receive the specially formulated and highly nutritious JAM porridge on a daily basis.  I cannot begin to tell you how grateful we are for this opportunity.  Now, instead of taking the children food for a day, they will be fed every day for as long as they are being cared for at the crèche or day care centre and the extra food we take them will be a treat!

 

Some of the schools we have visited in the last two months already have the JAM feeding programme in place and it is clearly evident how much healthier the children on this feeding programme are. 

 

 This little boy enjoys his bowl of JAM porridge.

 

Later this month, we will spend a day with JAM in three of the areas within Soweto where we have distributed blankets over the years  … introducing a JAM food consultant to the day care centres in the hope that they may be put onto the feeding scheme – soon ! 

  

… and so, we look forward to seeing many more of the signature red JAM bowls in the areas we visit – these photos were taken in Finetown!

 

JAM in turn is arranging for corporate volunteer groups to help sew together blankets for KAS and they kick off this week on Mandela Day, Friday, 18 July.

 

 The first batch of blanket packs delivered to JAM for sewing up on Mandela Day.

 

Speaking of which – what are you all doing for your 67 minutes for Madiba?  We will be distributing at the Sunshine Association for disabled children and would love to have you share your plans with us via the KAS Forum!

 

As you can imagine, this week is always a hive of activity in South Africa with everyone planning their 67 minutes honouring Madiba.   KAS SA has numerous businesses that are helping us by knitting squares and sewing together blankets, boosting the number of blankets we can distribute at this time of the year.   This year we joined forces with the “67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day”, a campaign spearheaded by Carolyn Steyn and one you may have been following on Facebook.  Carolyn has done an incredible job over the last six months of raising the awareness of knitting and crocheting for charity in South Africa.  We have been involved virtually from the beginning and have donated numerous blankets to be distributed through Carolyn’s network.  We have also been involved in the many events she has arranged and as a result have raised the KAS profile in South Africa.  We have seen an increase in the number of local enquiries and hope that these volunteers will become dedicated KAS supporters.

 

This weekend we were invited to join Carolyn at Sandton Square for a knit-a-thon and I displayed a number of your gorgeous blankets around the statue of Nelson Mandela together with our Knit-A-Square sign. 

 

Our KAS signature blanket in the foreground!

 

The whole square was a riot of colour with people knitting and crocheting as far as the eye could see.  I wish you could all have joined us on this occasion – you would have loved the vibe!!!

 

 

KAS supporters with me at Nelson Mandela Square.

 

In my next mini report, which I plan to post next week, I am going to share with you a goal set by one of our volunteers and report back on her phenomenal success! 

 

We literally have hundreds of photos to share with you having done between 2 – 5 distributions a week for about two months now and if you will just bear with us over this very busy period, the reports will return as a more regular feature!