More than just a geometric shape with perpendicularity, a square can change a child’s life.
One square in particular certainly changed mine in February 2009 when I discovered Knit-a-square, a not-for-profit organization that receives 8″ crocheted or knitted squares from around the world and sews them into blankets for AIDS orphans, abandoned and vulnerable children.
Sandy McDonald, the founder of KAS, was born and raised in Zimbabwe. In 1984, after guerilla war, political turmoil and a rise in violence, Sandy, her husband Roger and their two children left the country and moved to Australia. Fast forward to 2008 when Sandy’s aunt Ronda came from Johannesburg, South Africa for a visit. Ronda told Sandy of the cold winters and blankets she was giving to children on the streets. They decided they couldn’t sit back and do nothing about this hidden tragedy.
Thanks to a fortunate set of experiences, Sandy created the idea for Knit-a-square. How easy it would be for any person around the world to send one 8″ square! Then those squares could be sewn into blankets and distributed to at-risk children who have virtually nothing. After a surge of new subscribers in early 2009, KAS finally took off.
To date, hundreds of thousands of squares and thousands of items of clothing have arrived in South Africa. KASCare now has two wonderful volunteers, Lindiwe Ngwenya and Wandile Mkhwanazi, in addition to invaluable help from Ronda’s daughter (Erin), Sandy’s daughters (Kalai and Cressida) and the KAS forum moderators. They have expanded their distributions to creches, children’s charities and shack settlements and were able to collaborate with a security company to have prisoners sew the squares into blankets. And Ronda is there to oversee it all.
What’s most rewarding is seeing the look on a child’s face when they receive their blanket, hat or stuffed toy, which is why this year I’ve committed myself to making a square a day. In 2011, I set a goal to send 300 squares to KAS. It’s time to up the ante.
Enter this blog. I’ve never blogged before, so bear with me. Each week I’ll be posting a picture of that week’s squares. I wanted the first post to act as an introduction to a community I belong to and a cause I believe in: warming and comforting African children, showing them they are loved from halfway around the world.
As Ronda said in a South African press interview, “They are a currency we use to tell the children exactly how beloved they are. We tell them they are the future, unique and special.”
For more information, please visit knit-a-square.com and stay tuned for my first week of squares!