Ever since I started planning my trip to Africa, I have been thinking about what I can do for the people of the country that will allow me and my students into their lives. I’ve decided on the 2 projects discussed below.
1. Since I am an avid knitter, I will be knitting hats for infants to provide to hospitals and orphanages and recruiting friends to create and donate hats as well (can be knitted or crocheted). I found out that pregnant woman have to bring their own hats for their newborn babies because the hospital in Karagwe, Tanzania isn’t able to provide them. It is really critical that newborn babies have their heads covered to prevent the loss of heat from their bodies. The study abroad group in Tanzania also will be visiting an orphanage for children up to 18 months old and I’m sure they would benefit from hats as well.
2. The other project I’m participating in is Little Dresses for Africa (LDA). I first found out about this non-profit Christian organization when I was on a college trip with my daughter last fall. She is looking at colleges with programs in Fashion Design and Merchandising and came across Lasell College, Newton, MA. At the open house we went to the session for their Fashion programs and one of the activities they highlighted was their students’ participation in the Little Dresses for Africa project where each student created at least one dress to send to Africa. And then I heard about LDA again around Thanksgiving time during the “Making a Difference” segment on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and again in January on the same show. After reviewing the LDA website, I was convinced this project was perfect for my trip. I plan to make dresses for little girls and shorts for little boys and hope to encourage some of my friends to do the same. In fact, one of my best friends is an avid quilter and has already arranged to have her quilting group meet at my home on a Saturday to make clothing together. I’ve already contacted Rachel, the founder of the organization, and she is happy that I will be bringing clothing items directly to the children in Africa. In fact, if I don’t have enough dresses to fill a whole 50 lb suitcase, I will be offering to bring some of the supply she has received.
If anyone reading this blog is interested in contributing to either of these projects, please leave a comment below and I will let you know where to send them. The pattern for making the dresses is on the Little Dresses for Africa website linked above and in the right sidebar. It is a very simple pattern made from pillow cases or rectangular pieces of fabric. The knitted or crocheted hats can be any pattern you desire. I have linked to a few knitted hat sites on the right sidebar but hope to write up a basic hat pattern soon.