Knitters around the world are sending a much needed cuddle of love and support for children living in emerging nations plagued by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When we think of knitting for charity some common images that may come to mind are the cold and lonely homeless living on dirty streets in major metropolitan areas, or perhaps the tiny hands and feet of babies struggling to survive in your local NICU unit. An image that is probably NOT top of mind is Africa! Children in such countries as; Botswana, Ethopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda and over 13 other African nations have been left orphaned by the HIV/AIDS plague, many of them are now struggling with the disease themselves. Imagine a child left helpless, parent-less, AND now struggling to overcome a relentless illness themselves. A horrifying reality, that is being alleviated by a global movement started by Amy Berman of The Mother Bear Project.
How do you get involved: All of the bears for the Mother Bear Project use the same WWII-era knitting pattern. It is SIMPLE, which is amazing because knitting masters down to the novices can participate. The whole bear is basically made as a tube (knit flat or in the round, you decide), and then you split for the legs and pick up for the arms. The clothes are knit as part of the bear. One bear can be finished in a few hours of work (intermediate level knitter), and they only require about 35 yards of 3 colors of yarn. If you have 50 yards of each, you can easily embellish as you wish. The bears do not need to be “realistically” colored so any yarn in your stash can be used! You can get the pattern directly from Mother Bear, for a small $5 fee. It is so encouraging to be part of an activity that builds communities naturally, and is generally associated with it’s inherent generosity.
What about you? What organizations have you knitted something fun for? How did it make you feel? I’ll bet as warm and cozy as that first pair of “nearly” purl-fect socks! I hope you have been inspired, and I can’t wait to share the next “Good News in Knitting” with you…maybe it will feature your special knitting philanthropy!
Some Additional Mother Bear Project Resources
Official Mother Bear Project Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/motherbearproject
Charity website: http://www.motherbearproject.org/
Official Easy-to-Knit Bear Pattern (both knitting and crochet) available through the Mother Bear Project: http://www.motherbearproject.org/pattern.html