Orphans’ knitting charity powers on, thanks to Lion Brand
Melbourne, Australia, I January 2010 – Australian-founded international knitting charity, KasCare, has delivered a total of 170,000 knitted blanket squares and 10,000 items of knitted clothing to AIDS orphans in Africa up to Christmas 2010.
KasCare founder, Sandy McDonald, runs the charity out of Melbourne, Australia. She said media power, beginning with Lion Brand Yarn, was responsible for capturing the imagination of the knitting world. People around the globe, especially in Australasia, the US, UK, South Africa and Europe had responded with great generosity, but even more was needed.
One of KasCare’s program’s, Knit-a-square, organises the world’s knitters and crocheters to knit and send 8”/20cm squares to Johannesburg, South Africa. There, KasCare volunteers sew them into blankets and distribute them to AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in squatter camps and slums.
The 170,000 squares represent 4,857 blankets for chronically poor and destitute children, many infected or affected by AIDS.
Since being mentioned on the Lion Brand Yarn website in February last year, KasCare has grown from a membership of just two families to more than 5,000 supporters in 40 countries.
KasCare has set its sights on providing knitted blankets and clothing and basic educational material for some of the 1.9 million orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. The number of new orphans grows by an estimated 500 a day.
Another of its programs—the KasKids global schools initiative—is based on a KasCare teacher and school knitting resource, also developed in Australia. The four part program combines fun, skill and social learning and is easily taught by teachers and parents, whether they have craft skills or not.
To date KasKids has been taken up by 250 schools, again mostly in the US, UK, Australasia and South Africa. Next year, the charity hopes to reach 1,000 schools internationally. Financial support to promote the program was desperately needed, Ms McDonald said.
The knit-a-square program has recently attracted the attention of the South African arm of G4S, the world’s largest security operation. The company runs prisons in conjunction with the South African Department of Correctional Services. The company has undertaken to involve inmates in skills programs and blanket production as part of its prisoner re-integration program. A pilot project in the Bloemfontein area of South Africa is underway.
Ms McDonald said KasCare was a simple, practical idea that could be easily applied to help some of the most disadvantaged children on earth. When people understood the plight of the children and magnitude of the problem, they felt empowered to act.
Issued by KasCare
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