Crocheting is a popular pastime that is practiced in many different regions of the world. In my own family, my mother was an avid “crocheter”. I still have this beautiful mint and peach coloured zig-zag print blanket that she made for me as a toddler. It cradled me from the Terrible Two’s to adulthood and the warmth I receive from the blanket surpasses more than just the physical realm. The ability to fashion a blanket out of some yarn and a hook can not only provide warmth, but it can literally transform lives.
Possibly no one knows this better than those working and volunteering with the non-profit organization, Krochet Kids. The organization, which was given a non-profit status in 2008, has experienced phenomenal growth with their crochet-training program that aims to empower developing communities that have been bound by a history of crippling dependence. Currently, the organization only works in Uganda and Peru, but they have no intention of cutting their breadth short.
Krochet Kids began when three close-knit high school students, Kohl, Stewart, and Travis, found a hobby of crocheting together. Through a simple hook and yarn, the boys found ways to create a business by fashioning all sorts of crocheted products and selling to interested family and friends. It was not until one of the boys, Stewart, embarked on a life-changing journey to Uganda. Upon his return, the idea for Krochet Kids was born. What was previously a small business suddenly had the opportunity to change the course of history for some families and communities in rural parts of the developing world.
Many communities from Uganda have been hindered by decades of war, rendering their familial systems strained and dependent on a slew of obstructive government programs and organizations. Though intentions may be to provide “aid”, the real needs are to create independence so such communities can provide for themselves. Krochet Kids works with families in the developing world, aiming to “empower people to rise above poverty”. Giving these families the tools to provide sanitation, an education, as well as the opportunity to create savings, can forever change lives. 40 percent of women who partake in the program are less likely to be abused. 25 percent more women are able to participate in important family decisions. Families also experience five times more access to healthcare. Savings increase twenty-five fold. This extra income can provide money to invest in a business as well as providing immediate aid for the women’s families and their community.
There are four ways to get involved with the program: by purchasing any of the products on the Krochet Kids website , volunteering as an intern, raising awareness through campus clubs or by spreading the word through social media. The most direct and effective way to immediately help families is to purchase an item on the Krochet Kids website or at one of the many stores that carry its products. Many popular stores, such as Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Whole Foods readily have these items for sale. Not only are they fashion-forward, but each piece is signed by the woman who created the product. It creates a reciprocal relationship between the consumer and the family which would otherwise not have existed with the socioeconomic barriers that separate some developed and developing countries. On the other hand, becoming an intern is a fantastic way to be hands-on with the organization, volunteering time on-site in Peru, Uganda, or even in the United States.
According to the 2012 Annual Report, the program has created dozens of independent businesses for these families, of which many include rental, retail and livestock businesses. Uganda has 150 women participating in the program, which has an effect on not only their lives, but their immediate family, community and in a small way the entire developing world. The Peruvian organization employs 38 women, though the numbers are rapidly increasing for both of these locations. Krochet Kids provides a minimum of three years training, ensuring that the women are experienced, while also providing an on-going mentorship program. Empowering women is a direct way to improve the lives of those living in the developing world. Through a hook and some yarn, a child can have money to attend school. They can afford to visit a doctor. They will have access to nutritious food and clean drinking water.
With 100% of the profit and donations going directly towards helping these families, there is little excuse to not help in any way possible. If funds are limited, send a tweet or share a status on Facebook. Raise awareness through involvement in community or campus clubs. Intern if free time is available. Realize that any small action from a single person has the ability to change the world. People often claim their dream is to “change the world”. Effective change cannot be enacted through grandeur ideas, but by grassroots that take one step at a time. That is all you need to make the world a better place.
Courtesy Images Krochet Kids